A SOUTH Shields man was conned into paying £450 for two bottles of lemonade by tricksters who offered to sell him a cheap iPad.
The 40-year-old fell victim to the con between 12.30pm and 1.20pm yesterday, in the car park of Lidl at Laygate, South Shields.
He was approached by a man who offered to sell him an iPad for £100, along with some other electrical items, for a total of £450.
The man went to a nearby cashpoint to withdraw money, handed over the cash and received a black case in return.
The seller then drove off in a blue car, possibly a Ford Mondeo.
When the man checked the bag a short time later he found it contained two bottles of lemonade.
The incident is being linked with another a short time earlier in Gateshead.
There, a 34-year-old woman was approached in the town centre by two men who offered to sell her an Apple Notebook for £100.
She went to a nearby pawnbrokers to get the cash, which she handed over to the men at the rear of Jackson Street car park, in return for a laptop bag.
The men left in a blue Mondeo., and when the woman checked the bag they found it to contain only two bottles of water.
That incident happened between 11.50am and 12.30pm, and the conmen in both cases are described as 30 to 35 and 45 to 50, of white European appearance.
Detective Sergeant Andy Richardson said: “When the victims handed over the cash, instead of being given expensive electrical goods they’ve been given items of no value.
“It’s vital people are aware of it so they know it’s a con, and to ensure they report anything suspicious to police.
“As we’ve said before, if something seems too good to be true then it usually is, and people in the area should exercise caution at all times.
“This should act as a warning to others - that they should never agree to hand over money to people they don’t know or to buy goods offered to them on the street or at the doorstep.
“We’re continuing to investigate in an effort to trace those responsible, and I’d urge anyone with information is asked to contact police as soon possible.”
Anyone with information can call police on 101, extension 69191, or ring the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.