On Air Now
Early Breakfast with James Stewart 4am - 6:30am
An unemployed man has been convicted of making fake bomb detectors in his garden shed in Gosport.
Anthony Williamson, 58, put together components and sold them to a middleman for nearly £600 each.
He was said to have made £20,000 from the scam which saw the devices sold to customers around the world for inflated amounts.
Williamson, of Montgomery Road, was found guilty at the Old Bailey of making an article for use in the course of fraud.
But he was not at court to hear the verdict after being rushed to hospital earlier in the day.
Judge Richard Hone adjourned sentencing to a date to be fixed pending a medical report.
Judge Hone, who yesterday sentenced conman James McCormick to ten years for a £50 million similar fraud, said he was considering a suspended sentence because of exceptional circumstances.
He told the jury the profit made by Williamson was on a "different scale of magnitude'' to McCormick.
He said the thought of Williamson making the detectors in his garden shed "beggars belief''.
Richard Horwell, QC, defending, had asked the judge for a suspended sentence saying Williamson's health had deteriorated during the trial.
The middleman had been the prime mover. Williamson had lost everything and was in danger of losing his home.
The trial heard the fake detectors were claimed to have been able to find explosives, drugs and human remains - but were "completely ineffectual''.
Richard Whittam, QC, prosecuting, said a different coloured light would come on depending on what it was supposed to be detecting.
"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,'' he added.
Police searched Williamson's home in 2010 where they found various pieces of equipment used to make the device, stored in his garden shed.