AN OFF duty police officer was pushed by a man trying to scam him out of money on the M3 slip road near Basingstoke.

The officer was driving out of Basingstoke along the A30 towards junction 7 of the M3, at 3pm on Tuesday, when he was flagged down by a man standing in the middle of the road.

The man told the officer that he had broken down and needed to exchange gold for money.

The officer called the police for assistance, as he was aware of previous incidents of this nature in Hampshire, where motorists have been tricked into handling over cash, The suspect then demanded money from the officer and pushed him backwards.

The officer identified himself as police and attempted to detain the suspect, but he ran from the scene.

PC Craig Bannerman, from Basingstoke police station, said: “I would like to hear from any motorists who may have seen a man attempting to flag down motorists prior to this incident. Were you also stopped and asked if you would purchase items or did you witness two men involved in a struggle at the side of the road? If so you may be able to assist our investigation.

“Similar incidents have previously occurred elsewhere in Hampshire. It seems the offenders for these scams prey on the good nature of their victims.

“Those that offer gold in exchange for cash are often selling highly polished copper made to look like gold which is practically worthless.

“If you spot anyone acting suspiciously in this way at the roadside, please call police immediately. If possible, please take down the registration number of the vehicle.

“If you suspect someone’s request for help isn’t genuine, don’t be afraid to refuse, especially if you think that person is trying to scam you, and call police immediately.”

Anyone who witnessed this incident should contact PC Bannerman on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.