For most magicians, making objects vanish into thin air is all part of a day's work.

But fraudsters have turned the tables on the conjurers by making their own cash disappear.

Sussex magicians have been targeted in a new scam to part performers from their cash.

According to trading standards officers, the trick involves booking magicians, sending them large cheques as payment and then asking them to transfer the extra money back to them.

The fraudsters cheques then bounce, leaving the performers out-of-pocket.

Magicians on The Magic Circle website all received an email, offering them £350 to perform at a bogus wedding in Hastings.

The trickster, going by the name of Lach Walters, offered each of the performers a cheque in advance of the show.

But when the magicians grew suspicious and started asking for more information, Walters performed a vanishing trick of his own.

The premises, in North Street, Lewes, turned out to be an electrical shop, and the wedding venue a warehouse in a run-down Hastings suburb.

Brian Eames, a veteran Sussex magician who hung up his wand last year told The Argus the magic industry was being constantly hit by facial scams.

He said: "It goes on quite a bit. I don't know why they keep hitting magicians - maybe it's because they can get someone who works alone."

Mr Eames was offered three times the usual rate for a set of magical equipment by a man who said he was from Spain.

He said: "Fortunately I didn't buy a word he was saying. I would have lost out on about £2,000 if I had fallen for it.

"That's the main scam- Magic Week have had to put a warning out online because its got so bad. But I was also the victim of credit card fraud a few years ago. I don't know how they got hold of my details but two other magicians got caught by it at the same time.

"I'm afraid it seems particularly rife in the magical world. We must be a gullible lot."

Brighton's own magical maestro, the Great Omani, called the scam "an evil thing."

He told The Argus: "These people must be stopped."

A spokesman for East Sussex trading standards said none of the local magicians who reported the scam had fallen for the trick and had passed the details on to the authorities.

Councillor Bob Tidy said: "We know that many consumers have been targeted by different variations of this scam but the scammers use the same trick.

"People should be aware that forged cheques, when banked, will take some time to come to light.

"Don't accept a cheque greater in value than required and never use a money transfer service to mail funds to strangers."