POLICE today urged shoppers not to be tricked into buying camcorders from street sellers -- because many have turned out to be boxes of flour.

People in Blackburn, Burnley and Pendle have been handing over cash to bogus salesmen pretending to sell electrical goods but in return have received only bags of flour.

Detective Sergeant Paul Withers, of Blackburn CID, said people were approached in the street by the salesmen -- often described as scruffily dressed and driving old run-down cars -- and after paying around £70 for an item such as a camcorder they have received a holdall full of flour instead.

He said: "These people pull up at the side of the road and ask people if they want to buy a camcorder which they show them in a black, quilted Base holdall.

"Then people fork out £60 to £70 and they take the holdall to the car and swap it for another bag full of flour.

The zip on the replacement bag has normally been stitched so that it cannot be opened immediately.

When the customer realises the bag contains flour and not the camcorder, the salesman has already made his getaway. Police are advising shoppers to buy electrical items from legitimate retail outlets and not from people on the roadside.

DS Withers said the scams may be connected with an incident last November when six bags of flour were found in nylon shoulder bags in an abandoned car on the M65.

The car had been bought from a Burnley scrapyard the day before it was discovered on the motorway.