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‘I had a radio next to it, otherwise it was really boring’

Germany – A court in Germany has sentenced a man to 10 months in prison for swindling the country’s recycling system of tens of thousands of Euros.

The 37-year-old drinks vendor manipulated a bottle recycling machine in the cellar of his shop, according to a local media report. By installing a magnet sensor and a kind of wooden tunnel in the machine, he was able to feed a bottle into the mechanism, receive the financial reward and retrieve the bottle without it being shredded.

The defendant invested some Euro 5000 in his criminal endeavour but was able to extract Euro 44 000 from the machine by inserting the same bottle 177 000 times. His lawyer stated that ‘it was a method by which one could earn good money with relatively little investment’.

The judge described the feat as a ‘logistical master stroke’, concluding that the defendant must have ‘done nothing else every day other than attend to the machine’. The defendant responded: ‘I had a radio next to it because otherwise it was really boring.’

This scam is unlikely to be a one-off. The Deutsche Pfandsystem Gesellschaft, which is responsible for machine distribution and payments across Germany, did not notice the illegal behaviour until an undercover detective received an anonymous tip-off.

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