Business & Finance, News

Head of bomb detector company arrested for possible fraud

Head of bomb detector company arrested for possible fraud
January 23rd, 2010
Author: Jeff Taylor

Jim McCormick of ATSC Ltd has been arrested for selling useless bomb detector equipment to the Iraqi government and the devices will be banned from export to Iraq and Afghanistan. The detector, ADE 651 produced by ATSC (UK) Ltd, is a hand held ‘remote portable substance detector’ that is claimed to be able to detect certain substances up to 1 Km away using a technique the company call ‘Electrostatic Magnetic Attraction’.

The ADE 651 is a plastic handle with a swivelling antenna mounted on a spring sticking out of it.

The device has no battery or other power source. It is powered by the ‘user’s own static electricity. They have to walk about a bit holding it to ‘charge it up’.

The user can then insert a ‘substance specific’ programme card into the device so that the device can then locate that substance. The ‘substances’ it can allegedly detect are: people, explosives, guns, drugs, ivory, money and ammunition up to 1 Km away but from an aeroplane at up to 5 km away.

Once ‘programmed’ the user then holds the detector parallel to the body and walks around some more and the antenna will supposedly swivel to point at the substance they wish to find.

These things were sold to the Iraqi government for up to £45,000 apiece! A very expensive dousing rod indeed! Especially as they were on sale in other places at a relative snip of about £15,000.

Lord Mandelson has now asked the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to ban the sale of these useless items to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Serious questions have been raised over these devices for several months now. Reports in Nov in the Times, in the New York Times as well as websites like gizmodo.com all criticise the device harshly. James Randi, a professional magician from America, has even offered Mr McCormick $1 million if he can prove they work. So why has this taken so long to address and why no worldwide ban?


Mr McCormick, a 53 year old ex-policeman, is reported to have said in response to these criticisms “We have been dealing with doubters for 10 years. One of the problems we have is that the machine does look a little primitive. We are working on a new model that has flashing lights.” Well that’s OK then.

Reliance on the ADE 651 has probably cost many lives. In my opinion this device was not a wonderful device designed to detect all types of contraband, it was merely designed to fleece the gullible. At least the ATSC Ltd web-site is ‘under repair’ (more like locked).

Now, where did the crime take place, In the UK or in Iraq? So where should Mr McCormick and anyone else involved in this scam be held to account?



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5 Responses to “Head of bomb detector company arrested for possible fraud”

  1. George Rogers says:

    I’m no scientist but just reading the description of this piece of junk, I would never believe it capable of doing anything bar making the user look a dork. If anyone was stupid enough to part with that sort of money for this without seeing it proven to work deserves to get done as well as getting blown up! I wonder how many people in the current government had a hand in getting this rubbish exported as well as getting a kick back from it?

  2. mrx says:

    i work in Iraq and have to endure the Iraqi’s making us strip our vehicles of the smoke grenades we carry in our vehicles they then walk past the smoke and the vehicle and the antenna only moves when there wrist gets tired and they tilt there hand thus resulting in a full vehicle search.
    All the checkpoints that protect all the so called safe areas are now in Iraqi control and they rely on these devices to detect people and vehicles bringing in explosives which in turn puts mine and the Iraqi peoples lives in danger due to these machines.
    The complete c%*t that designed these fake EXPLOSIVE/IVORY??? detectors should be tried and prosecuted in Iraq as its the lives of Iraqi people that hes ultimately put in danger.
    With all the bombings that have happened recently the Iraqi people have been asking why the I.A. (Iraqi army) have not been doing there job properly and stopping these bombs coming in (i think we have there answer) Jim McCormick is responsible for the death of their children and other family members as well as a lot of peoples homes that are now rubble scumbags like you make me sick you siezed an opportunity to take advantage of people in a vulnerable position i hope you rot in a Iraqi jail for the rest of your days its the least you deserve.

  3. Frank Odds says:

    This is a good start. Now can we expect someone to take action on all the similarly ineffective ‘complementary and alternative medicines’ that are being hawked at prices to bilk people equally gullible as the Iraq military?

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  5. memskep says:

    This and similar devices were exposed years ago for the useless junk they are, but no one listened, or cared enough to take action. Too much money to be made by the unscrupulous from willfully ignorant it seems.