Phoney bomb detector conman jailed
A conman who sold cheap and "useless" bomb detectors for thousands of pounds around the world has been jailed for seven years.
Gary Bolton, 47, sold the phoney devices to international clients for up to £10,000 each, boasting of their ability to detect explosives, narcotics, ivory, tobacco and money.
But the equipment, which cost less than £5 to produce, offered no greater detection rate than random chance. Despite this, Bolton continued to peddle the devices - with soldiers among those said to have been handed the equipment.
Sentencing Bolton at the Old Bailey, Judge Richard Hone QC accused the father of three of damaging Britain's international trading reputation. He said: "You were determined to bolster the illusion that the devices worked and you knew there was a spurious science to produce that end. They had a random detection rate. They were useless. Soldiers, police officers, customs officers and many others put their trust in a device which worked no better than random chance."
The devices, known as GT200s, were no more than boxes with handles and antennae that Bolton, of Redshank Road in Chatham, Kent, made at home.
Bolton, who was found guilty of two counts of fraud by a jury last month, claimed the devices worked with a range of 766 yards (700m) at ground level and as far as 2.5 miles (4km) in the air - despite a Home Office defence expert who said it had "no credibility as an explosive detector".
It allowed Bolton's company, Global Technical Ltd, to amass a turnover of almost £3 million, with up to 5,000 devices made. Bulk orders meant the GT200 was sold for between £2,500 and £10,000, although they retailed at up to £15,000 if bought individually, the court was told.
Around 1,200 devices were sold to Mexico, while orders were also shipped to parts of Asia and the Middle East. The devices are still being used in Thailand, the court heard.
Bolton, wearing a grey polo shirt, black trousers and canvas shoes, closed his eyes as his sentence was read out. The judge said: "You're a fraudulent person. You have no remorse." A confiscation hearing is due to be held next April.
Speaking outside court, Detective Inspector Roger Cook said: "Gary Bolton made a fortune selling devices that were supposed to be able to detect explosives and other harmful substances but in reality were nothing more than plastic handles with aerials as antennae. In doing so he was putting people's lives and livelihoods at serious risk, but his sole consideration was how much money he could make."