Get involved: send your pictures and news by texting Hillingdon Times to 80360, or email us
Man jailed for fake detectors scam
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 Redshank Road in 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 them and sell them around the world. 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 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 Technical 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.
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.
Richard Whittam QC, prosecuting, previously said the devices were relatively cheap to make.He told the trial: "In fact, the device, you may think, was nothing more than a box with a handle and antennae attached to it and pieces of plastic inside it. Bolton knew these devices did not work but he made and supplied them so that they could be sold."