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Fog off, punks

Z Energy’s fog cannon being tested on Tuesday. PHOTO/CAL ROBERTS

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For just $250, businesses can safeguard their premises against dangerous situations developing.

Service station Z Energy on Chapel St closed its store and blocked entrance to the forecourt around 2pm on Tuesday to test its fog cannon.

The cannons are designed to fill a room with dense fog in seconds, making it difficult to perform a smash and grab with any sort of poise or efficiency.

“You can’t steal what you can’t see,” one of the testers on site said.

Earlier this year, government provided greater financial support for crime prevention and security measures in stores considered “high risk”.

Z Energy spokeswoman Georgina Ball said the cannons, which cost about $3000 each, sprayed a water-based fog.

“They have been used successfully in a number of attempted robberies around New Zealand and are very effective in preventing people stealing anything of value and making work safer for our retail staff, which is our number one priority.”

She said the company found that a layered approach was the best method of preventing robberies, including locking doors at certain times of night, security film on glass to make it hard to break, high-definition CCTV and number plate recognition, and tobacco cabinets in some areas.

Senior Sergeant Mike Sutton said the cannons were a useful tool in theft prevention and security.

“Their primary purpose is to stop whatever’s taking place and provide safety for the business owners and people in the store.”

He said the fog did not interfere with the role of police and investigations taking place.

“They’re pretty impressive.”

Police Minister Stuart Nash said the previous government had a scheme that required a 50 per cent investment by business owners for the device.

“This government has increased the subsidy so that at-risk business owners will contribute no more than $250 towards the cost of a fog cannon.

“This is a fraction of the bill they faced previously,” Mr Nash said.

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