That guy who put handles and antennae on boxes and sold the result as “bomb detectors” has been found guilty of making and selling fake bomb detectors. There are some things you really don’t want fakes of – bridges, medicine, fire trucks – stuff like that. Bomb detectors are high up on that list if you live in an area where bombs are a real possibility. Lots of people do. Many many many people live in places like that.
The Old Bailey heard the devices made by Gary Bolton, 47, were nothing more than boxes with handles and antennae.
The prosecution said he sold them for up to £10,000 each, claiming they could detect explosives. The trial heard the company had a £3m annual turnover selling the homemade devices.
Bolton, of Redshank Road in Chatham, Kent, had denied two charges of fraud. Sentencing has been adjourned.
Richard Whittam QC, prosecuting, told the court that Bolton knew the devices – which were also alleged to be able to detect drugs, tobacco, ivory and cash – did not work but supplied them anyway to be sold to overseas businesses.
No fraud though! Just an honest mistake. He thought attaching antennae to the empty boxes turned them into bomb detectors.
Bolton claimed his own devices worked with a range of 766 yards (700m) at ground level and as far as two and a half miles (4km) in the air.
He claimed they were effective through lead-lined and metal walls, water, containers and earth.
In 2010 a Home Office defence expert tested Bolton’s GT200 detector at the request of the Office of Fair Trading and found it had “no credibility as an explosive detector” because it had no functioning parts.
Further stringent “double-blind” tests carried out on the GT200 by Dr Michael Sutherland of the University of Cambridge found that it worked successfully twice in 24 tests searching for TNT, which was less than the probability of finding the explosives at random.
Which is not surprising, because the box was empty.
It’s a bit like Harry Lime and the diluted penicillin. Not just fraud but lethal fraud. Not nice.