RIO DE JANEIRO: Forty-six Brazilian police officers travelling to a sports competition were caught with their guard down this week when four thieves robbed the bus carrying them to the event.

The bus with 46 unarmed police from northeastern Paraiba state was headed to the city of Salvador in Bahia when two cars with armed robbers forced them to stop on the main interstate highway on Tuesday.

"The robbers took their cameras, cellular phones, wallets and even the sports uniforms and sneakers," a police spokesman said.

The suspects, who escaped, apparently did not know the bus was full of police when they stopped it, he said.

"We are looking for them, but I cannot say there's any particular ardour here due to the fact that policemen have been robbed."