Crooked businessman Gary Bolton, from St Mary's Island, jailed for selling fake bomb detectors
A crooked Kent businessman who roped in British diplomats and Army officials to help sell bogus "bomb detectors" to security forces around the world was today jailed for seven years.
Gary Bolton, from Chatham, made around £45m by claiming his GT200 and "Mole" devices could find explosives, drugs, cash, tobacco and even humans at up to three miles.
But the detector actually had its origins in a novelty golf ball finder and was merely a retractable antenna mounted on a plastic box.
Gary Bolton on holiday. Picture: Mike Gunnill
Bolton, 47, baffled officials and potential customers with crackpot scientific theories to drum up support for his Ashford-based business Global Technical.
He managed to hoodwink the diplomat brother of Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman into offering his support while the UK’s ambassador to Mexico.
Gary Bolton. Picture: Mike Gunnill
Members of a trade body linked to the British Army also helped sell Bolton’s machines to the military in Saudi Arabia.
One official at the Royal Engineers Export Support Team boasted the device was "the best thing since sliced bread".
Global Technical sold the machines for up to £20,000 each and at its peak was turning over £3m.
Scientific tests later proved the machines offered no advantage over random chance - but Bolton continues to insist they work perfectly.
Bolton's company headquarters in Ashford. Picture: Mike Gunnill
But after a three-week Old Bailey trail Bolton, of Redshank Road, St Mary’s Island, was convicted of fraud last month.
Judge Richard Hone QC jailed Bolton for seven years for a scam he said had damaged the reputation of British industry around the world.
He told him: "Soldiers, police forces, border customs officers, hotel security staff and many others put their trust in a device that worked no better than random chance.
"The jury found you knew this, yet you continued to make and sell the devices for over four years.
"Your profits were enormous and you knew they were fraudulent" - Judge Richard Hone QC
"Your profits were enormous and you knew they were fraudulent."
Bolton tried to claim he was suffering from depression to avoid a lengthy jail term, but the judge said he did not regard the diagnosis as 'valid'.
The divorced father-of-three showed no emotion as he was led away to begin his sentence.
He now faces being ordered to repay the millions he made at a confiscation hearing on April 10 next year.
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