Unfortunately, there was a problem. The devices were a complete sham, with no electronics inside. They were, in fact, based on a novelty golf ball detector which Brian Butterfield-lookalike McCormick had bought from an American in-flight magazine.

At the old Bailey yesterday, the court was told McCormick's detectors, which he had been selling at £27,000 a piece, were "completely ineffectual" and "lacked any grounding in science".

When I read those words, I couldn't help but think of all of the assorted homeopaths, wizards and internet psychics that plague the gullible online. Last year, eBay banned the sale of “advice; spells; curses; hexing; conjuring; magic; prayers; blessing services; magic potions; healing sessions” and other intangible or metaphysical stuff, because so much of it was transparently fraudulent.

While this sort of nonsense may have been driven off eBay, it still proliferates online. You can find pretty much any magical procedure you want, if you're gullible enough, and have deep enough pockets. The line between peddling magic and peddling pseudoscience is quite thin – I recall looking into "Vampire Facelifts" last year, essentially a cosmetic procedure where the patient's own blood is injected back into their face "to keep them eternally young". I wondered if they were dangerous.