Adam Lovejoy reports from London: So there was this guy, right, Gary Bolton, who made fake bomb detectors that were basically odd looking contraptions stuffed with wires and batteries, to keep the lights blinking, costing him five quid each to make at his home in Ashford in Kent, but going for 10 grand on the market. Gary made millions but was finally caught and yesterday was sentenced to 7 years in the slammer at the Old Bailey.
Lots of outrage was expressed by all sorts of people, who pointed out that Gary’s ‘bomb detectors’ were sold all over the world and put lives of military personnel, cops and and civilians in danger in Iraq and Afghanistan and beyond. They also said that Gary made millions out of his scam and enjoyed a life of luxury, the lucky devil. It has also transpired that Gary was so good at selling his odd looking detectors that he had managed to convince some of his buyers that they could detect lots of other things apart from bombs, like dope, tobacco and even cash.
Mind you, these contraptions did occasionally detect some bombs, which says a lot about Gary and his technical skills. Otherwise why would the Chinese People’s Liberation Army buy some of them off him, and lots of other armies across the world as well.
And still the judge at the Old Bailey didn’t like where Gary was coming from, calling his bomb detectors useless. But what His Honour has missed completely in this case, along with the outraged community and hacks, was that Gary should not have been standing alone in the dock. He should have been sharing the limelight with the people who supposedly tested his ‘equipment’ and approved the deals, who are as guilty of putting the lives of people at risk as Gary. In fact, I would go as far as saying that Gary would not have been able to pull of his brilliantly simple con if his buyers were not incompetent, stupid and, yes, corrupt. Because you can’t really approve deals worth hundreds of thousands when you are actually buying metal junk stuffed with wires.
I can understand the inspectors from the PLA keen on making a few bob on the side by approving deals with Gary from Ashford. Or even the ones from the Indian and Pakistani armies, who are used to conducting shady deals. But what about the fine British procurement people, how did they manage to get fooled so easily? Dodgy, very dodgy, that.
So instead of sending Gary to the slammer the British government should have hired him to sell military equipment and hardware to foreign nations. He would have been a top class salesman.