Fake detectors 'still used in Iraq'
Fake bomb detectors are reportedly still being used in Iraq, months after a British conman was jailed for selling them.
James McCormick was told by Judge Richard Hone that he had blood on his hands as he was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his role in the ruse.
The former policeman, of Langport, Somerset, who was found guilty of three fraud offences at the Old Bailey, is thought to have made £50 million from selling three models based on a novelty £13 golf ball finder, to Iraq and other countries.
A national newspaper has now reported that the fake detectors were still being used at checkpoints in Iraq as recently as two days ago, when a wave of car bombs struck Baghdad, killing 55 people.
The Independent said more than 4,500 people had been killed in Iraq since McCormick's conviction in April, despite the Iraqi government promising that the devices would be phased out.
It was intended that sniffer dogs would be used as a replacement, but only two provinces in the south of Iraq have so far installed canine units, according to the newspaper.
Iraqi officials are reported to have complained that contradictory statements have been made to them from the government, leading to delays in the fake devices being banned.
A schoolteacher who witnessed one of Monday's explosions said: "I went through one checkpoint on the way in (to Sadr City) where they had the detectors just before the bombing.
"They look like wands and they are supposed to bend when they spot a bomb. But they are useless, everyone knows that."
Hassan Abu Ridha, whose neighbour was injured in another of the blasts, told the newspaper: "My cousin is a policeman and he says they know these things do not work, but they have no orders to stop using them and they have been given nothing else.
"The British should have stopped them being sold in the first place, but now it is fault of our government that people are dying."
McCormick is believed to have sold 6,000 of the detectors to Iraq and 1,000 other police and military forces including United Nations peacekeepers in Lebanon.
The prosecution in his case said there was no scientific basis to the detectors and that they were nothing more than a con.
The trial heard some of the detectors were sold for £27,000 each and claims were made that they could find explosives, drugs, fluids, ivory and people. They claimed items could be detected up to 0.6 miles (1km) underground, up to three miles (5km) from the air and 100ft (31m) underwater.