Second Briton jailed for selling fake bomb detectors

Tue Aug 20, 2013 10:30am EDT
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LONDON (Reuters) - A British businessman who made fake bomb detectors from boxes, plastic handles and glue and sold them internationally for up to 11,000 pounds each ($17,000) was jailed for seven years on Tuesday.

Gary Bolton, 47, was the second Briton in three months to be jailed for selling fake bomb detectors to countries around the world including Iraq, Mexico, Thailand and Egypt.

A court heard the devices made by Bolton were just a box with a handle and completely ineffectual as a piece of detection equipment despite him saying they could detect explosives, drugs, tobacco, ivory and cash.

His company, Global Technical Ltd, made 2-3 million pounds a year between 2007 and 2012 selling the homemade devices to overseas businesses in more than a dozen countries.

Bolton, of Chatham, 35 miles east of London, denied two counts of fraud but was found guilty of making or supplying articles for use in fraud and sentenced at London's Old Bailey court on Tuesday.

"Your culpability is of the highest level ... this device did materially increase the risk of personal injury and death," said Judge Richard Hone, whose comments were reported on the court's website.

The prosecution told the court that Bolton had at his house another fake bomb detector made by Briton James McCormick, a former policeman and salesman from Somerset, in southwestern England, who was jailed for fraud in May, media said.

McCormick was sentenced to 10 years jail for manufacturing and selling hand-held detectors to countries at risk from bomb attacks such as Iraq, Egypt, and Kenya.

A judge described him as having "blood on his hands" for selling the detectors which were based on a $20 novelty machine for finding lost golf balls and had no working components.

(Reporting by Belinda Goldsmith; Editing by Alison Williams)