Gary Bolton Jailed Over Fake Bomb Detectors
A businessman has been sentenced to seven years in prison for making and selling fake bomb detectors.
Gary Bolton, 47, made millions of pounds selling the devices around the world, boasting they could detect explosives, drugs, ivory, tobacco and even money.
In actual fact they consisted of nothing more than empty boxes with handles and antennae which he made at home and at his Global Technology Ltd offices in Kent.
He denied two counts of fraud as a judge at the Old Bailey described the equipment as "useless" and "dross".
Sky's crime correspondent Martin Brunt, at the court, said Bolton spent £1.82, plus the glue and antennae, on each product and then sold them for up to £15,000 each.
The court was told Bolton's company had a turnover of almost £3m, with up to 5,000 devices made.
Prosecutor Richard Whittam QC said tests proved the detectors, first called the Mole and later remarketed as the GT200, performed no better than random searches for explosives.
Bolton claimed they worked with a range of 700 metres at ground level and 2.5 miles (4km) in the air and said they were effective through lead-lined and metal walls, water, containers and earth.
But "double-blind" tests on a Mole device as far back as 2001 showed it had a successful detection rate of just 9%.
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."
Mr Whittam said Bolton admitted in interview to having no background in science, research, training or security, the court heard.
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.
Detective Inspector Roger Cook, from the City of London Police's Overseas Anti-Corruption Unit, said Bolton put "people's lives and livelihoods at serious risk, but his sole consideration was how much money he could make".
"Bringing Bolton to justice is the result of a long, complex and far reaching international investigation and his seven-year prison sentence should act as a warning to others who seek to act corruptly overseas with the belief that they will go undetected," he added.
In May James McCormick was jailed for 10 years for also selling fake bomb detectors. He made £50m selling his devices for up to £27,000 each to groups including the Iraqi military and police in Kenya.
Prosecutors in the case said British officers in Iraq believed the detectors may have cost dozens of lives.