Coles introduces major change to its security with ‘James Bond-style’ devices installed at its supermarkets
Coles introduces anti-theft fog equipment to deter thieves. One customer describes his shock after it accidentally went off while shopping.
Supermarkets across the country have adopted this technique, which works by sending a cloud of mist over checkouts and shelves when an alarm goes off.
The method is designed to be activated in the event of a break-in outside store opening hours and makes it difficult for thieves to see what they are doing.
Customers at a Melbourne Coles store were able to witness the new technology in action after the device was accidentally activated following a ‘technical mishap’.
Coles supermarkets have deployed new anti-theft fogging equipment in a bid to deter thieves
One customer recalled the experience on Reddit, saying they had been shopping at a Coles supermarket in Clayton, 19km south-east of Melbourne, over the weekend.
The customer said they were shopping late at night when they noticed a cloud of smoke filling the front of the store in the suburb.
“I’m not sure what happened when I wore my headphones and was in my own world, but I stopped at my local Coles to get something to eat on the way home last night around 10.20pm,” they wrote.
‘As I walked to the checkout I heard a loud bang and smoke gradually filled the store (there was no burning smell and everyone in the store was relatively quiet, but the loud alarm did sound).
‘The smoke finally cleared after two to three minutes. Does anyone know what it could have been?’
Photos posted by the shopper show cash registers, customers and products on shelves, all obscured by a thick layer of fog.
A Melbourne customer caught a fog device in action at a Coles supermarket in Clayton this weekend
The device released a thick cloud of fog that covered shoppers, cash registers and shelves in the store
Many comments on posts explained that the smoke was caused by the anti-theft fog device.
“Anti-theft fog, it’s used to stop thieves,” someone said.
“They’re supposed to go off when the store is broken into/rammed after hours because it’s almost impossible to steal stuff when you can’t see,” said another.
‘Certainly a disruption if it is during opening hours.’
A third commented: ‘It’s called a smoke cloak.’
The author of the post said they had no idea such technology existed.
“Thanks to everyone who took the time to clarify that it is a security/anti-theft device,” they said.
‘I honestly had no idea they used them in supermarkets!’
In a statement, Coles told Ny Breaking Australia there was a technical incident at the Melbourne store on Friday evening “causing this fog”.
“There is no health risk associated with the fog technology, which is designed to go off if a burglary occurs outside office hours,” a spokesperson said.
In September it was revealed that Coles would ‘aggressively’ roll out new technology that would track every customer’s movements around the store.
The new security approach includes fog machines, cameras, trolley locks and smart gates to help stop supermarket theft, following a 20 per cent increase this year.
One piece of technology tracks customers from the moment they enter the store and records the time it takes to shop through each aisle until they reach the self-checkout.
The anti-theft fog is part of a new range of security measures being deployed at Coles supermarkets (stock image pictured)
New security cameras above the cash registers will then monitor all items as they are scanned and placed into bags. If anomalies are detected, smart gates are closed while an alarm sounds, keeping the customer in the store.
If that doesn’t get a suspected thief out of the store, the wheels on new high-tech carts lock completely as soon as they leave the store.
Coles Chief Operations Officer Matt Swindells described the technology as ‘world class’ in identifying potential thieves.
“What we’ve done is taken the best of what’s available overseas and then enhanced that with a few other tweaks so that we believe we’ve gotten world-class loss prevention technology into our stores,” he told A Current Affair.
“If you’re a thief, we’re going to get you.”