Dowsing For Danger: Is The ADE651 Still On The Market?

A little while ago, our good friend and past guest speaker Trystan Swale covered the ADE651 – the so-called bomb detector that didn’t, well, detect bombs. The story had been widely reported, with prominent skeptic Bruce Hood working with the BBC to expose the inefficacy of the devices, culminating in the arrest of ATSC CEO Jim McCormick. James Randi, of course, had long since identified the ADE651 as little more than a dowsing device, having slapped the $1million challenge on the table if McCormick were able to prove him wrong – an offer which was, unsurprisingly, refused.

All this is well-known, and can be found in greater detail elsewhere on the web, so I won’t bore you by re-hashing the details. However, there is something I can add to the story – we here at the MSS were recently contacted by a journalist wanting to know a little more about the device, specifically if it’s still on sale. Always happy to oblige, I got to doing a bit of digging, and having found – unsurprisingly – the ATSC’s website down ‘for repair’ (I can only assume it’s the company’s morals that are undergoing repair), I was kindly pointed in the direction of the online trade outlet ecplaza, and specifically the page for the ATSC ADE 651.

Well, what better way to find out if this disgraced and disproven device is still on sale, than to call up the manufacturers directly? Luckily enough, ecplaza lists the phone number for the sales department of WooBombDetectorsRUs as +44 207 681 2036… which is a number out of service. Presumably, the phone lines are also down for repair. Still, on the page there’s this lovely, shiny, inviting orange box titled ‘Inquire Now’… so I did. Presumably, I thought, if the website is down and the CEO under investigation for fraud, then the email enquiries would either bounce back an auto-reply saying ‘this device is no longer on sale’ (or word to that effect), or it would simply disappear into a black hole.

As it turns out, I was wrong – a few days later, the following reply dropped into my inbox:

  • Subject: RE: ADE 651
  • From: ATSCLLC, ATSC (UK) Ltd, United Kingdom
  • Phone: 44-207-681-2036,
  • Email:
  • Homepage :
  • Date: Mar 22, 2010 16:54:37 GMT
  • Message:
    Dear Mr Marshall.

    Many thanks for your enquiry. However, before we disclose any further information, could you please advise as to the nature of your, or your companies enquiry. This is asked as generally, information is only provided to those prospective clients that have a specific need in the ability to detect either explosive or narcotic ‘signatures’ and for a specific ‘end-user’ Country.

    Any additional information you could provide at this time would also be very useful.

As you can see, conspicuously absent in the above is any indication that the ADE 651 has been banned from sale, discontinued or withdrawn pending review. I have, naturally, responded in order to obtain further information – thus far to no avail.

If the ADE 651 is indeed still for sale, it represents the ongoing endangerment of lives the world over. It’s also not alone, in that respect…

The GT200 from Global Technical Ltd– cost: £22,000 per unit

The GT200 is an near-identical device to the ADE 651. Personally, I find interesting to note the sheer lack of any kind of technical information, specifications, studies, research and data available on their site, even when referring to valid criticisms:

Conflicting documents

We have read conflicting media reports of the outcome of the latest tests on the GT200 carried out by the Thai government.

You will appreciate that it is difficult to comment on the latest test report until we have seen it and had the opportunity to study it and, in particular, to understand the testing methodology employed. We can say that previous tests carried out by independent bodies, and the experience of the large number of users of this product all over the world, confirms that the GT200 is effective and because of this, we would ask that you treat with caution any reports to the contrary.

Essentially, they’re saying: “Don’t listen to what the bad men say, our device works because we say so”. Hardly particularly convincing. The GT200 was part of the investigation by BBC Newsnight in January, and was found to be as ineffective as the ADE 651. What’s more, the BBC found that the device:

“…consists of an aerial on a handle connected to a black box into which you are supposed to insert substance detection cards.

The head of Global Technical, Gary Bolton, told Newsnight:

“There are no electronic parts required in the handle.”

Explosives expert Sidney Alford took apart the “black box” of the GT200, which is supposed to receive signals from the detection cards. He was surprised at what he found.

“Speaking as a professional, I would say that is an empty plastic case,” he told us.

Mr Alford also took apart a “detection card” and found there was nothing in it other than card and paper.

Gary Bolton from Global Technical told the BBC that the lack of electronic parts “does not mean it does not operate to the specification”.

The Alpha 6 from ComsTrac Ltd – cost: between $12,000 and $39,000
One look at their website should give a good indication of the standard of this operation. Happily, the website has recently been updated to include the following message:

In view of the latest debates regarding molecular detection systems, we have felt it wise to advise that Alpha 6 is only one of the many products that we market directly and through our dealer network around the world.

We wish to further advise that although we have utmost confidence in its efficacy, ALL sales are made on the basis of successful demonstrations and independent tests carried out by the client.

We have no wish to misrepresent the ability of the product and allow all genuinely interested clients to test the units by themselves in their own time and using their own methods.

Very prudent, I’m sure you’ll agree. Naturally, I’ve contacted them for further information, and look forward to their reply. I also look forward to the results of testing carried out by the Thai government, given that their Interior Ministry have purchased almost 500 of these devices at $12 000 apiece – totaling a cool $6 000 000.
What’s more than clear, then, is that while the ATSC may still be selling their own discredited device, it’s far from the only one on the market. It won’t be until we can stop the sales of these ineffective detectors that we’ll be able to stop the deaths of the innocent people caught in the crossfire.

, , , , , ,

  1. #1 by Jon d on April 12, 2010 - 12:10

    I reckon this is more of a corruption story than anything else and a large proportion of the sale price of these units ends up in the bank account of the person in the client government who signed the purchase order. I’m sure the thai army know a thing or two about explosives really.

  2. #2 by bruce hood on April 12, 2010 - 17:30

    Yes, this all too familiar and depressing. It has also gone very quiet on the prosecution case as well, though these things take time. ITV contacted me recently to see if I knew what was going on but I suspect it’s business as usual in the woo bomb-detector business – even with a Government ban. Still publicity is what they hate so we must continue to shine a light on this whole affair.

    Keep blogging, digging and being a complete PIN to these charlatans

  3. #3 by Miguel Corkhill on April 16, 2010 - 22:42

    I know journalists are busy these days, what with having to make up at least 10 stories about Cheryl Cole a day. But couldn´t he/she have done his/her own phoning around?

  4. #4 by Techowiz on May 13, 2010 - 14:56

    Hi guys,

    McCormick has had his bail extended until July this year. He was recently (march 2010) in Romania at a, ‘counter terrorism conference’ selling his ridiculous ADE. Word has it that he intends to move operations there to get round the direct sales to Iraq ban imposed on him by the UK government.
    Anyway you can see his ever smiliing face at the following link:

  5. #5 by Techowiz on May 26, 2010 - 23:35

    Sad to report the wbsite is back up and running with a whole new look. You can even apply for a job with them now!!!! Dont get too excited under the title, ‘tests and trials’, there is none. Anyway the address is the same and they have some new real equipment for sale as well.

  6. #6 by Techowiz on June 10, 2010 - 09:33

    Great news the other scammers, GT200 and Alpha 6 have had their long overdue visit from the cops, check the link for the story:


  7. #7 by Techowiz on July 20, 2012 - 09:46

    Further to the above and a very long time coming, McCormick was charged on the 12th of July 2012, with 6 counts of fraud and remanded to rpison.
    Fellow fraudster, Gary Bolton (GT200 scam) was also charged with fraud and given bail.

(will not be published)