| 5.9°C Belfast

Man faces jail over fake detectors


A man is facing jail for selling fake bomb detectors

A man is facing jail for selling fake bomb detectors

PA Archive/Press Association Images

A man is facing jail for selling fake bomb detectors

A millionaire businessman is facing jail after being convicted of selling fake bomb detectors.

James McCormick, 56, was found guilty at the Old Bailey of three counts of fraud after jurors heard the devices did not work.

McCormick, of Langport, Somerset, made an estimated £50 million from sales of his three models to Iraq, Belgium and even the United Nations for use in Lebanon.

But, the court heard, the Advanced Selection Equipment devices had no scientific basis and were based on a £13 American novelty golf ball finder.

McCormick shook his head after the verdicts were delivered. He was remanded on conditional bail to be sentenced on May 2.

Some of the detectors were sold for £27,000 each and McCormick is thought to have made about £37 million from sales to Iraq alone. There is no evidence that he tried to sell to the Ministry of Defence, but an MoD inspector watched a demonstration organised by an Essex policeman.

The detectors were marketed to the military, police forces and governments around the world using glossy brochures and the internet. Men dressed in military-type fatigues were shown using the detectors to find explosives, drugs, fluids, ivory and people.

Richard Whittam QC, prosecuting, said fantastic claims were made that the detectors could find substances from planes, under water, under ground and through walls. They claimed to be able to bypass "all known forms of concealment" and be able to detect at distance.

Items could be detected up to 0.6 miles (1km) underground, up to 3 miles (5km) from the air and 100ft (31m) underwater, it was said.

But Mr Whittam added: "The devices did not work and he knew they did not work. He had them manufactured so that they could be sold - and despite the fact they did not work, people bought them for a handsome but unwarranted profit."