SOME masks are so realistic that people frequently cannot tell them apart from human faces, a University of York study has found.

Participants were fooled by the masks in a fifth of cases, researchers from York and Kyoto University found.

So-called "hyper-realistic" silicone masks are designed to imitate real human faces, leaving no freckle, wrinkle or wisp of hair unaccounted for.

The researchers believe the devices, which cost around £1,000, will only become more convincing and could be exploited by criminals as a disguise.

They asked 240 participants in the UK and Japan to look at pairs of photographs and decide which showed a face and which showed a person wearing a mask.

They were fooled by the masks a fifth of the time.

This is believed to be an underestimate of how likely they are to be mistaken for real faces in real life.