A GOOD Samaritan has lost £1,500 after trying to help a stranger who was struggling to pay for a parking ticket - and it turned out to be an elaborate fraud.

Bahawodin Baha was approached in the car park by a man who claimed not to speak English and was unable to buy a ticket for himself.

The man, who spoke French, asked Mr Baha to pay for his parking ticket as he did not understand how to do it.

Mr Baha believed his cards had been swallowed by the machine as he tried to help buy a ticket.

The man then claimed to call the engineer to come out and release the cards.

He passed the phone to Mr Baha, who gave over information to a man claiming to work for Brighton and Hove City Council.

When he came back from his daily walk, he realised £1,500 had been taken from his accounts, which had been used three times.

He told The Argus: "It is my nature to help people, therefore, I inserted my card but then he was typing his car registration and I am not sure what he did very quickly, but the machine did not return my card.

"I was naive enough to use my second card and the same thing happen to that as well.

"Then, he looked at the side of the machine and said that he will call for an engineer to come out to release the cards.

"Then he gave me the phone and he said that he cannot speak in English.

"I had not realised that the person on the other side of phone was also criminal and he asked some questions and assured that he was working for Brighton and Hove City Council and will return both of my bank cards tomorrow.

"When I came back from my daily walk and was trying to report to the bank, he had already used my cards three times at HSBC and took £1,500 from my bank accounts."

Brighton and Hove City Council have now warned drivers against the scam targetting pay and display machines in the city.

Motorists are now being asked to report the scam to Sussex Police if it has happened to them.

Writing on Twitter, the council said: "We've been made aware of a scam performed at one of our pay and display machines.

"A bank card was stolen after thieves asked the owner to help them pay for a ticket.

"Please be aware and if this has happened to you, report it to Sussex Police."