CONSUMER chiefs are concerned at the number of dubious mail shots sent by foreign firms.

Durham County Council officials are warning people about an offer from a Dutch company attempting to sell them expensive alternative health products, with the lure of a £10,000 prize.

The council's head of consumer services, Phillip Holman, said: "Perfect Health says the first special prize is a cheque for £10,000 but, on reading the small print, it's apparent that you are most likely to receive only a share of that. In real terms, this means that most people will get a small cash voucher off the purchase of health products that the company is seeking to promote.

"Once their interest is caught, people are invited to send off money for items such as headache bands, face firming creams and anti-rheumatism armbands.

"There's no evidence that there's anything wrong with the products but the fact that they are having to promote them using a prize award mail shot rings alarm bells. The products certainly appear expensive for what they are, and our advice is bin the letters."

Council cabinet member Don Ross said: "We are concerned at the number of unsolicited mail shots being sent to people in the county, most of which appear to be originating from abroad."