A 21-year-old man in Cambridge has been arrested in connection with a mass-mailing that led people to believe they were being invoiced for the purchase of an iPod – and gave the phone number of Huntingdon police station for enquiries.

Hundreds of concerned callers jammed the switchboard of the police station after receiving the email.

The Cambridgshire police issued a statement saying: "We are warning people across the country about an email that has been sent today advising people that they will have almost £400 removed from their bank accounts."

Deputy chief constable Alan Given said: "This appears to be a deliberate attempt to affect the service provided by the force. If you have received such an email we would advise you to ignore it and not ring the number of customer services that is listed."

He added: "However, you should monitor your bank statement and if a similar amount is taken from it, contact your local force as soon as possible."