Couple claimed devices were made in a high security 'laboratory' and could be used to track down drugs, explosives and even people, court told
Samuel Tree, 66, (R) and his wife Joan Tree , 61, (L) arriving at the Old Bailey Photo: NICHOLAS RAZZELL
By Keith Perry and agency
2:48PM BST 14 Jul 2014
A married couple claimed bogus bomb detectors made in their garden shed could help find missing Madeleine McCann, a court heard yesterday.
Samuel Tree, 67, and his wife Joan, 62, sold the fake machines for thousands of pounds each, the Old Bailey was told.
They claimed that the devices were made in a high security 'laboratory' and could be used to track down drugs, explosives and even specific people.
But they were actually just plastic boxes with antennas stuck on top that cost a couple of pounds to build in their back garden, the court heard.
Prosecutor Sarah Whitehouse QC said: "This is a fraud case about dishonesty and deception but it has some highly unusual features.
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The two people in the dock are a married couple.
"For many years they made a product, called an Alpha 6, in a shed in the back garden of their home.
"They claimed that this product was capable of detecting the presence of drugs and explosives and other substances and objects.
"They have even claimed that is it capable of finding missing people and on one occasion a claim was being made it was capable of even finding Madeleine McCann.
"These claims were false.
"The Alpha 6 device is nothing more than a plastic box with antennae stuck on the top and some pieces of paper inside.
'It cost a few pounds to make and yet was sold to agents and suppliers for hundreds and sometimes thousands of times this amount.
"The basic allegation is that the device does not work and they knew it did not work but they made it and supplied it to be sold for profit.
"Despite the fact that these devices did not work, people did astonishingly buy them."
The sham product was sold through Keygrove and Keygrove International, companies run from the couple's home in Dunstable, Bedfordshire, the court heard.
'The device was called the Alpha 6 Molecular Detector, a revolutionary product, according to the marketing material, for search and detection of specific contraband substances,' Ms Whitehouse said.
'There were apparently a number of variants - the devices could detect drugs, explosives and even particular people.
'It was claimed that the device could detect substances as small as 15 millionths of a gram at a range of up to 500 metres and was powered by nothing more than the static electricity generated by the body of the person operating the device.'
Samuel based his design on the American-made 'Quadro Tracker', a product originally marketed as a golf ball finder, the court heard.
The Quadro has now been banned across the world and its inventor Malcolm Roe came to Britain and stayed with the Trees.
'Sam Tree went to the United States in 1995 and saw this golf ball finder - Quadro Tracker - in action,' Ms Whitehouse said.
'He brought it back with him.
'This device could, it was claimed, detect the presence of drugs.
'It plainly did not impress the American authorities because in 1996, after a civil trial, the sale of Quadro Tracker was banned across the world because it was wholly ineffective and was being sold fraudulently.'
She added: "Mr and Mrs Tree were aware of the problems with the Quadro because Malcolm Roe was a friend of Mr and Mrs Tree.
'"Through this friendship they knew all about the failure of his detector device and Mr Tree went to America to give evidence on behalf in the civil trial."
The Trees previously sold crime scene equipment, including fingerprint powder, to various police forces across the country.
But they turned their hand to inventing in 1997 with their first detector device - the Mole.
The Mole was discontinued in 2004 because it did not work and Samuel moved on to the Alpha 6, the court heard.
"It was no more effective than the Quadro or the Mole," Ms Whitehouse said.
"There is evidence that Sam Tree was well aware of that."
The first batch of plastic boxes cost £5.10 each to make, the court heard.
The Trees ordered £65,000 worth to be made in China and shipped to the UK by product design firm Blue MT.
"The impression given is one of sophistication, and effectiveness based upon scientific principles," said Ms Whitehouse.
"The reality was that Samuel and Joan Tree were assembling the devices in the garden of their semi-detached house in Dunstable with plastic boxes made in China, glue and bits of paper."
Samuel and Joan Tree, of Dunstable, Beds, both deny making an article for use in fraud.
The trial continues.
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By Tom Marshall Thursday, June 20, 2013
Jury clears fake bomb detector salesman who thought he found Madeleine McCann
Brilliant isn't it? Just where exactly did they think Maddie 's body could be that their device could locate her?
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My EXCLUSIFFPIX 'pics'! (of the 'FindMaddie wand') back on June's 'search' by Met.
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