A drinks vendor in Cologne, Germany was recently tried and convicted to ten months in prison for modifying a bottle recycling machine and cheating the swindling several tens of thousands of euros from the national recycling system.
Bottle-recycling machines in Germany are fairly straightforward – a person inserts one or more bottles into the machine and they receive a receipt for a few euro-cents, or euros, depending on the number of bottles recycled. But in a case presented in front of a Cologne court last week, one recycling machine ended up paying a whopping €44,362.75 ($47,000) without recycling a single bottle. It turns out that an unnamed local drinks vendor managed to modify one such recycling machine located in the basement of his shop so that he could earn a lot more than the usual spare change. Evidence presented during the trial showed that the 37-year-old defendant had installed a magnet sensor and a kind of wooden tunnel into the machine, which allowed him to insert the bottle into the mechanism, receive his receipt and then retrieve the bottle without it actually getting shredded inside.