A child had to be pulled out of the way of a speeding car yesterday as the driver fled from police investigating a scam.

Minutes later it crashed into a wall.

Officers spotted the grey Vauxhall Astra, thought to be linked to a fraud involving people being being conned into thinking they have bought a laptop, as they were investigating in Edgeware Road just before 3pm.

A police spokeswoman said: "They attempted to stop it, but it was driven at speed out of the car park and straight towards one of our officers, before mounting a pavement and making off."

A pursuit followed as the car went through red lights, but it was lost to sight briefly and they found it crashed in York Road.

All three occupants had run off. Police searched the area but later appealed for help in finding them.

"We believe a family including a young child were in the area at the time of the incident, and the child had to be pulled away quickly to avoid being hit by the vehicle as it made off from the scene.

"We’d urgently ask anyone who may have been a victim of this scam, or anyone who was approached by men attempting to sell computers in the town centre to get in touch," said the spokeswoman.

The policeman was not injured in the incident.

Fraudsters using the laptop scam persuade people to hand over cash for what they think is a cheap computer, but they only discover the box is empty after the con artists have gone.

The force appealed for anyone with dash cam or CCTV footage as well as anybody who was in Edgeware Road at about 3pm to contact them.