A WARNING has gone out after all-male groups of suspected scammers tried to flag drivers in the south Cotswolds.

Several reports to police say people driving in the Tetbury, Malmesbury and Nailsworth areas have been waved down by men who say they need help, usually because they have run out of petrol or have a sick wife in the car.

When they have slowed down to help, the person who is apparently in trouble has looked suspicious and there have only been men in the car. Eye-witness have described the men’s appearance as “foreign”, usually Eastern European, and “highly suspect”.

It is not clear if the incidents have involved the same groups of men or different ones.

Police have warned drivers in the area to be careful, adding “if you do feel you have to stop at a car please lock your doors and take the car number or take pictures if you have a mobile phone on you”.

Tetbury resident Colin Pearce told the Standard: “They seem to be doing it in villages around Tetbury like Avening and Long Newnton which are remote. It’s worrying because you don’t know what they want to do.

"People in Tetbury are concerned. You don't whether they are going to rob you, rape you or murder you.

“I think there’s not enough deterrent in this country. The punishment should fit the crime, you shouldn’t be able to get out in 10 to 15 years for murder. If there was a bigger deterrent things like this would not be happening.”

No one has been hurt or threatened in any of the incidents but people have aired their concerns on social media.

Alex Trapnell wrote on Facebook group Sherston – What’s occurring: “That Asian guy in the estate car is trying to flag cars down again on the Malmesbury to Tetbury road, near Shipton Mill. Please don't stop, but do report it. Be safe.”

On New Year's Eve a woman was driving near Winterbourne Gunner in Wiltshire when an apparently fake policeman pulled her over.

When she became suspicious and asked for identification there was a short scuffle before she managed to escape.