A BUSINESSMAN who sold fake bomb detectors 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 that they could detect explosives, narcotics, ivory, tobacco and even money.
But a judge at the Old Bailey described the equipment as “useless” and “dross”.
The devices were no more than boxes with handles and antennae that Bolton, of Chatham, Kent, made at home.
Tests carried out showed the GT200 devices – which cost less than £5 to make – were no better at detection than random chance, yet Bolton continued to market and sell them.
He denied two counts of fraud but was convicted by a jury at the Old Bailey last month.
Sentencing the father of three, judge Richard Hone QC said that Bolton had maintained the “little plastic box” was a piece of working equipment, and that he continued to “peddle” it to scores of international clients – including for use by armed forces – despite evidence proving it was “useless”. He added: “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 jury found you knew this but you carried on. Your profits were enormous.”
The court was told Bolton’s company, Global Technology Ltd, had 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.
Richard Whittam QC, prosecuting, previously said that the devices were relatively cheap to make.
He told the trial: “Bolton knew these devices did not work but he made and supplied them so that they could be sold.”
The prosecutor said Bolton admitted in interview to having no background in science, research, training or security.
Bolton was arrested in June 2010 following an investigation by City of London Police’s overseas corruption unit.
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.”
Bolton’s sentence came after fellow conman James McCormick was jailed for ten years earlier this year for three counts of fraud for selling fake bomb detectors.
McCormick, 57, of Langport in Somerset, was said to have made £50m from his scam.
Representing Bolton, Jonathan Higgs QC told the court that his client’s offending – between 2007 and 2012 – was not on the same level as that of McCormick.
He said: “There is no suggestion that these devices were to be sold to and deployed as frontline devices to counter terrorist threat.
“The countries to which tenders were made were using these devices for a range of different detections.”