Russians are buying everything they can get their hands on, say shopkeepers in the West End.

'They are replacing Arabs as the big spenders,' said Martin Barnett, of the Marble Arch Traders Association. Signs in Russian are fast replacing

Arabic ones in the association's 364 shops and a special computer has been brought in for translating their requests.

Mr Barnett advises other shops around the country to follow suit. 'They tell us we are the cheapest and they love the quality.'

another - some would say fatal - attraction for the Russians was cafes serving greasy British breakfasts, he said.