Gosport man accused of fraud over explosive detectors

The Old Bailey
The Old Bailey
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A GOSPORT man manufactured bogus explosive detectors and sold them for nearly £600 each, with customers around the world, a court heard.

Anthony Williamson, 58, of Montgomery Road in Bridgemary is accused of fraud for creating and selling the device, which was said to be able to detect traces of explosive, drugs and human remains.

But expert evidence later discovered the device, which cannot be named for legal reasons, was ‘completely ineffectual’ and offered no advantage over random chance in making a positive detection.

Williamson, denies one charge of making an article for use in the course of fraud.

His trial at the Old Bailey was told Williamson invented the device and sold the products to a company in Devon.

They were then dispatched to far-flung pockets of the globe, including Pakistan and Yemen.

The product brochure described the device, which was shown to the jury, as ‘unique in its detection method’, indicating a different coloured light depending on what it had ‘discovered’.

Prosecutor Richard Whittam QC said: ‘In summary, the allegation is that over a period of time, he (Williamson) made a product and supplied it to a man in Devon.

‘It’s a hand-held, battery-powered substance-detection device. It has a plastic handle, a retractable antennae.

‘It claims to be a search-detection device able to detect explosives at a range of up to 100 metres. But it doesn’t work.’

Mr Whittam told the jury that an expert studying the device said its claims were highly dubious.

Outlining the prosecution case, Mr Whittam said the technical documentation which accompanied the product ‘raised serious questions’ about the device.

The expert added: ‘[It] offered no advantage over random chance.

‘It is my opinion that [the device] is completely ineffectual as a piece of detection equipment.’

The court heard City of London Police searched Williamson’s home in 2010 where they found various pieces of equipment used to make the device, stored in his garden shed.

Documents relating to the product were also found in his office, Mr Whittam said.

Williamson subsequently told police he had an honorary degree from Cardiff University ‘in 1992, or something like that’, as a result of designing a new type of scalpel.

However, this turned out to be false, the court was told.

An invoice found Williamson charged £582 for each device supplied to a company in Devon in 2009, Mr Whittam said.

Williamson denies fraud.

The trial continues.