Seven people have been arrested for allegedly being involved in a multi-million pound boiler room scam after raids in Sussex.

It is thought victims have lost £28 million through the fraud, which involves using high pressure sales techniques to sell worthless shares to investors.

The arrests were part of an attack on fraudsters involving authorities across Europe as well as the UK.

The six men and a woman were arrested yesterday following searches on a number of premises in West Sussex, Surrey, London and Hertfordshire.

Officers raided seven homes and one office in the early morning operation.

The FSA said the arrests in the South of England were part of the biggest such operation it has yet conducted.

FSA officers were helped by the Crown Prosecution Service, City of London Police and Hertfordshire Police.

The wider investigation has involved authorities in several European countries, including the Maltese anti-money laundering department.

The problem of boiler rooms, many based overseas, is widespread.

Participants tend to phone people directly to urge them to make worthless investments dressed up as attractive propositions.

The FSA says it is told of about 500 new ones each year, although some may be the same outfits masquerading under new identities.

The FSA recently revealed that it was contacted by about 3,000 boiler room victims each year, reporting an average loss of £20,000 each.

But it says this is clearly the "the tip of the iceberg" and estimates that there are probably about 30,000 victims in the UK each year, with a collective loss of between £150m and £300m.

The FSA urges people to hang up if they receive unsolicited calls from people trying to sell them shares. For more information see