Businessman 'made millions from dud bomb detectors'
A businessman created a £3 million-per-year company selling home-made bomb detectors that did not work, a court heard today.
Gary Bolton, 47, sold the devices around the world for up to £10,000 each, boasting that they could detect explosives, narcotics, ivory, tobacco and even money.
But they were no more than boxes with handles and antennae that he made at home and at the Kent offices of his company, Global Technology Ltd, the Old Bailey was told.
Tests carried out as far back as 2001 proved that the detectors, then called the Mole and later remarketed as the GT200, performed no better than random searches for explosives.
Richard Whittam QC, prosecuting, said the devices were relatively cheap to make.
"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," he said.
"He (Bolton) supplied a substantial number of these devices to be sold to a variety of overseas customers in many places including Mexico and Thailand.
"The essence of the allegation is that Gary Bolton knew these devices did not work but he made and supplied them so that they could be sold.
"And despite the fact that the prosecution alleges that they do not work... people did buy them and he could get that (£3 million) turnover and his company could make a considerable amount of money."
Mr Whittam told the jury of eight men and four women that Bolton was also believed to have falsified documents showing that the devices did not work to suggest that they achieved good results.
The prosecutor said Bolton had admitted to officers from City of London Police's overseas corruption unit after his arrest in June 2010 that he made the devices at home and at the company's offices near Ashford, where component parts for the GT200 were found.
He also admitted in interview to having no background in science, research, training or security, the court heard.
Bolton, of Redshank Road, Chatham, Kent, denies two charges of fraud between January 2007 and July 2012.
Bolton claimed that the devices worked with a range of 766 yards (700m) at ground level and as far as 2.5 miles (4km) in the air, the court heard.
But "double-blind" tests on a Mole device as early as 2001 showed it had a successful detection rate of 9%, the jury was told, with Bolton sent the test results.
In 2010 a Home Office defence expert tested the GT200 at the request of the Office of Fair Trading and found it had "no credibility as an explosive detector" because it had no functioning parts, the court heard.
The expert carried out further tests after Bolton's arrest on some plastic cards found at GT's offices, which, when put inside the handle of the detector, purported to allow testing for various substances.
A card marked "human" was found to be two credit card-sized pieces of plastic with a piece of paper inside, the jury was told.
Further stringent "double-blind" tests carried out on the GT200 by Dr Michael Sutherland of the University of Cambridge found that it worked successfully twice in 24 tests searching for TNT, which was less than the probability of finding the explosives at random.
Bolton was invited to attend the tests in October 2010, but did not, the court heard.
In his report, part of which was read to the court, Dr Sutherland said the device was "completely ineffectual as a piece of detection equipment".
"The operating principle of the GT200 device lacks any grounding in science and I cannot see how it can work in accordance to the known laws of physics," he wrote.
"Carefully executed field trials of the device showed that it offered no advantage in detecting explosives over random chance."