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Government statement on 'bomb detectors' export ban

22 January 10 17:07 GMT

The government Department for Business, Innovation & Skills issued this statement in response to a Newsnight investigation that reveals that a "bomb detector" sold around the world and particularly to Iraq by a British company cannot possibly work.

"Tests have shown that the technology used in the ADE651 and similar devices is not suitable for bomb detection. As non-military technology it does not need an export licence, and we would not normally need to monitor its sale and use abroad.

However, it is clearly of concern that it is being used as bomb detection equipment. As soon as it was brought to the attention of the Export Control Organisation and Lord Mandelson we acted urgently to put in place export restrictions which will come into force next week.

We will be making an order, under the Export Control Act 2002, banning the export of this type of device to Iraq and Afghanistan.

The reason the ban is limited to these two countries is that our legal power to control these goods is based on the risk that they could cause harm to UK and other friendly forces.

The British Embassy Baghdad has raised our concerns about the ADE651 with the Iraqi authorities.

We have offered cooperation with any investigation they may wish to make into the how the device came to be bought for their military as bomb detection equipment."

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