A MAN paid £600 for a bag of potatoes after being tricked into thinking he was buying a laptop computer.
The 27-year-old student agreed to buy a computer after being shown a laptop by a man in the back of a car.
Instead he was handed a bag of potatoes in a scam police fear the crooks have been running as far afield as London, Wolverhampton and Wiltshire.
The crook showed the student a Sony laptop in a carry case and the victim agreed to buy it for 600.
He handed over the money and was given an identical laptop bag.
It was only later that the student, who is originally from East Africa, found the bag contained potatoes and not a computer.
The incident happened in the car park at the rear of Debenhams, Slindon Street, Portsmouth, on Thursday, March 6, between 11.30am and 11.50am.
PC Allison Fraser from Fratton Police said, 'I would advise members of the public to refrain from buying high-value goods from people out of the back of cars or vans.
'If you do choose to make a purchase, ensure that you have the goods before you hand over any money.'
The man who sold the laptop is described as white and British but with no obvious accent.
He was between 40 and 50 years old, between 5ft 6ins and 5ft 8ins, with grey hair.
He was wearing a dark-green jacket.
The man was also smoking.
There was a second man who sat in the front of the car and did not get out during the deal.
He is described as being of Asian appearance, between 20 and 30 years old, 5ft 6ins, with short-black hair and wearing a green top and jeans.
The car was a blue Ford Escort estate with the registration number M235 GDD.
Anyone with information should contact contact PC Allison Fraser at Fratton Police Station on 0845 045 4545 or 01962 841534, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.