Gary McKinnon has been refused permission to appeal against extradition to the United States.

After he lost a High Court bid to avoid extradition in July, McKinnon has now been refused permission to appeal to the UK Supreme Court. If extradited to face trial in the US, McKinnon could face up to 60 years imprisonment in a high-security prison.

Mark Harris, global director of SophosLabs, said: “The IT community has been very supportive of the McKinnon campaign and today's news will shock many. The consensus is that it is perhaps inappropriate to make an example of a UFO conspiracy theorist when serious crimes are still being carried out by financially-motivated hackers, stealing identities, sending spam and creating botnets."

Speaking to BBC News, his mother Janis Sharp said no other country would offer its citizens to the US so readily ‘as sacrificial lambs', just to safeguard the special political relationship.

She said: “To use my desperately vulnerable son in this way is despicable, immoral and devoid of humanity.”

McKinnon was arrested seven years ago after allegedly hacking into computers belonging to the US Army, US Navy, US Air Force, Department of Defense and NASA. The computer enthusiast from North London claims that he broke into the computer systems only to hunt for top-secret information about anti-gravity propulsion systems and alien technology, which he believed the authorities were hiding from the public.