Carphone Warehouse has been visiting major landmarks around four UK towns to hide 200 Dell laptops worth £450 each today.

To help find the laptop hot-spots, the units were being held in the air by representatives from Carphone Warehouse. Anyone who founds a laptop in Manchester, Birmingham, Southampton or Newcastle not only got to keep it but also received two years of AOL Broadband by visiting a Carphone Warehouse store and registering the prize.

The Dell Inspiron notebooks that were given away featured a 15.4in screen, 1GB RAM, 80GB hard drive and come with Vista Home Basic.

Charles Dunstone, chief executive officer of Carphone Warehouse, said: “This is literally us ‘setting 200 Dell laptops free’ to passers-by. The reason for doing something so bold is that we really want to revolutionise broadband in the UK.”

A spokesperson from the company added: “We gave out this morning, and there has already been a bit of a mobbing in Birmingham as loads of people worked out what was going on and all went for the same laptop. The winner got taken to the store and had to leave by the back door.”

To coincide with the laptop hide and seek, Carphone Warehouse is giving away the same Dell notebook with its AOL broadband deal to the first 160,000 customers to sign up. Nearly 50,000 have already signed up for the scheme which is expected to run at least until the end of the year.