WANNABE rock musicians' dreams of starting out on the road to success have been cruelly dashed.

Police across Britain are investigating a hoax which could see hundreds of young hopefuls turning up for non-existent auditions at universities across Britain, this weekend - while conmen in London coin in a fortune.

The University of Teesside, Middlesbrough, where the scam was discovered yesterday, is drafting in staff tomorrow to break the bad news to groups turning up for auditions that are not being held.

A Cleveland Police team is investigating the hoax.

Advertisements have been appearing in local newspapers inviting young hopefuls to turn up for an audition at the universities of Glasgow, Manchester, Leeds and Teesside for a £10 fee per head, to be sent to a London post box.

A spokesman for Teesside University said: "The newspapers that have carried the adverts and the universities have both been victims of what appears to be a very cruel scam.

"We hope youngsters who have parted with their money do get their refunds and the police are successful in tracking down the people responsible.

"What we are trying to do is tell as many people as we can, who have already paid, that this is a deception and they should not be travelling to Middlesbrough over the weekend."