An English conman who was selling useless bomb detectors around the world has been jailed for seven years today.
47-year-old Gary Bolton from Kent has been successfully selling plastic boxes with handles and antennas for £10,000 per piece claiming they are highly sophisticated detectors capable of identifying explosives, narcotics and tobacco.
The actual cost of making a single GT200 device has been estimated to be less than £5 and tests have confirmed the ability of these gadgets to detect anything was based on random chance.
Bolton’s company Global Technical Ltd managed to sell thousands of these ‘detectors’ mostly to Mexico, countries of the Middle East and Asia. The price per piece ranged from £2,500 up to £15,000 depending on the quantity purchased by the customer. With this strategy, Bolton’s company achieved a turnover of nearly £3m.
However, some of his customers paid an even higher price. The useless gadget was a subject of controversy in Thailand where it was linked to a series of deaths of soldiers when bombs detonated under the feet of army personal with the ‘detector’s’ sensors perfectly undisturbed.
Bolton claimed the gadgets can detect explosives within a 700m range when used at ground level while their performance improves to up to 4km when in the air. However, a Home Office expert said the GT200 had "no credibility as an explosive detector".
During the trial, Bolton denied two counts of fraud and maintained the plastic box was a piece of working equipment.
The father of three was arrested in June 2010 following an investigation by City of London Police's overseas corruption unit. "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 antennas,” said Detective Inspector Roger Cook.