Five locations linked to three British companies were raided by London police on Tuesday for suspicion of exporting fake bomb detectors banned earlier this year by the British government and blamed for hundreds of deaths in Iraq.
"Officers from City of London Police's Overseas Anti-Corruption Unit (OACU) carried out five search warrants on three homes and two business premises on Tuesday," reports the BBC. "The unit is investigating whether the devices' abilities have been fraudulently misrepresented, and whether sales overseas are linked to bribes." The locations raided were linked to Grosvenor Scientific, Scandec Inc., and Global Technical. Police, according to The Financial Times, confiscated cash and hundreds of the hand-held devices and their component parts.
"We are concerned that these items present a real physical threat to anyone who may rely on such a device for protection," said OACU head Det Supt Colin Cowan.
Both the British and U.S. governments have determined that the bomb detectors, known as the ADE-651, are nothing more than a hoax—and a cruel one at that considering they're used to stop explosives from entering cities like Baghdad.
“The examination resulted in a determination that there was no possible means by which the ADE651 could detect explosives and therefore was determined to be totally ineffective and fraudulent,” Maj. Joe Scrocca, a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, told The Associated Press in January.
Also in January, the United Kingdom banned the export of the detectors to Iraq and Afghanistan, while arresting a former British police officer on fraud charges for selling the devices. Jim McCormick, the managing director of ATSC, is currently free on bail, according to BBC.com. He is accused of making millions of pounds selling the useless devices to Iraq.