9 am briefing: Hundreds trapped in their cars overnight after fresh chaos

HUNDREDS of drivers stranded overnight in freezing temperatures were battling to get home today as police launched a huge operation to free up miles of gridlock.

Some motorists were stuck in their vehicles for more than 15 hours as Scotland bore the brunt of a fresh wave of ice and snow which left several major routes impassable.

Police across the central belt today warned people not to travel unless it was "absolutely essential" after temperatures plunged as low as minus 17C (1.4F) and hampered gritting efforts.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The deluge yesterday - which appeared to take the authorities by surprise - saw people sleep in their cars or abandon them on the highway as motorways and A roads clogged up.

A statement issued on behalf of Strathclyde Police, Central Scotland Police, Lothian and Borders Police and Transport Scotland said: "Due to the extremely cold temperatures experienced across the central belt overnight, the gritting operation that has been carried out will not have had a significant impact on the ice that has built up on roads across the region.

"People are therefore advised not to travel this morning unless it is absolutely essential.

"The situation is being closely and constantly monitored."

Worst-hit were the M8 near Livingston and the M80 and A80 north- east of Glasgow, where up to 500 cars were trapped in ice and snow. The M74, M73 and A725 further south were also badly affected.

Temperatures plummeted to minus 13C (8.6F) in Edinburgh overnight, reaching minus 16.7C (1.9F) in parts of the Highlands.

EAST Lothian sex attacker John Cronin has been jailed for four months after a court appearance over fraud charges.

A magistrate heard how the 39-year-old, who arrived at court carrying bags stuffed with his belongings, had obtained hundreds of pounds worth of flowers and T-shirts after writing cheques without any cash in his bank account.

He admitted three charges at Leeds Magistrates Court yesterday and asked for another five to be taken into consideration. His offer of 200 compensation was rejected by the Crown.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Cronin has previously been jailed for a string of offences, including a sex attack on a Conservative Party worker in 1992.

SUPERMARKET giant Tesco today reported a 1.5 per cent hike in third-quarter UK sales, but warned that the recent snow had impacted trading.

Britain's biggest retailer revealed its UK growth sped up since the first half, when like-for-like sales excluding petrol increased by 1.2 per cent.

Heavy snow hit trading in some parts of the country, particularly Scotland, where many customers were not able to travel to stores, but Tesco said it hoped to recover the lost sales in the weeks before Christmas.

GLOBAL efforts to capture harmful greenhouse gases and store them underground are to be regulated by a best-practice model being devised by city researchers.

The Scottish Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Centre, in Edinburgh, today announced it will develop a toolkit to help nations test the strength of their regulations and permits, build knowledge and ensure the public are kept well-informed about efforts to create the huge carbon storage wells in their countries.

The toolkit will be funded by a 50,000 budget from the Global CCS Institute, which will then promote it around the world.