Alpha 6 £25,000
Fraudsters who sold “object detection devices” to governments around the globe are sentenced: they peddled what was basically a plastic box stuffed with
Thermapen Meat thermometer $96
newspaper, collected £80 million (!)
A pensioner who manufactured fake detectors which he claimed could locate ivory, bombs and even help find missing Madeleine McCann, has been jailed for three and a half years.
Samuel Tree, 68, had the devices made China before assembling them in his garden shed in Dunstable, Bedford, along with his wife, Joan, 62, who was given a suspended two year jail sentence.
The couple were the final pair to be found guilty in a fraud case stretching back to 1999 which is thought to have netted a gang of con artists up to £80million.
The crooks claimed the detectors could locate oil, drugs, and explosives up to three miles away, when in fact the devices were nothing more than empty plastic boxes filled with shredded paper.
The device came with a label attached to it listing the item it was supposed to look for, and the Trees claimed it used the body’s static electricity to power an aerial which would point to the object.
Despite the ‘Alice in Wonderland’ science behind the device, known as Alpha 6, the Egyptian government placed an order worth £1million, while Thai officials paid £25,000 for a single unit.
The device even duped Giles Paxman, brother of journalist Jeremy Paxman, who championed it while he was the UK’s ambassador to Mexico.
Units of Alpha 6 were bought by Saudi Arabia, India, Pakistan, China, and were also sold for use in the Green Zone in Iraq while British troops were serving there.
Without revealing embarrassing family secrets, I will merely remind my two younger brothers of our own criminal enterprise selling “combusti-ons”, but at least we were all under 12, and sold them to other juveniles. One likes to think governments are run by slightly more sophisticated people than our victims, but …