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Monday, 25 December, 2000, 18:16 GMT
Snowfall catches bookies cold
Christmas Day near Inverness
Taking advantage of the snow at Forres near Inverness
Bookmakers face a big pay-out after snowfalls brought a white Christmas to parts of the UK.

The heaviest falls have been across the Scottish Highlands, with gritting lorries and snowploughs being brought out to clear roads.

Central Scotland saw a sprinkling of snow, with several showers overnight around Glasgow.

Police say there have been some problems for motorists, although no major difficulties are reported.

Parts of northern England also saw a little snow, with a light fall recorded in Leeds

Reeth, North Yorkshire
Christmas Day at Reeth, North Yorkshire
Hills in north-east Wales also had a white Christmas

While parts of the UK enjoy the Christmas card scenes, it will mean a less than happy festive season for bookies.

Bookmakers William Hill had been offering long odds on a white Christmas after one of the wettest and mildest autumns on record.

Company spokesman Graham Sharpe said two punters in Glasgow were set to pick up 1,600 and 700 respectively, while the snow in Leeds was proving even more costly.

"The Leeds result will have cost us in the region of 50,000 pounds," said Mr Sharpe.

However, anyone betting on snowflakes falling further south looks likely to be disappointed.

The best the rest of the UK can expect appears to be a touch of sleet.

Short odds

A PA Weather Centre spokesman said the chance of snow falling on the weather centre in London on Monday was "slim" but still possible.

Scotland, Wales and northern England were also forecast to have more snow later this week, he said.

An AA Roadwatch spokeswoman said the snow was not causing any problems on the roads, adding: "It's exceptionally quiet today."

Closed book

Bookmaker William Hill has closed its book on the chances of Christmas Day snow, with odds of even money for a white Christmas in Birmingham, 8-11 for Manchester, 3-1 for London and 6-1 in Bristol and Cardiff.

Graham Sharpe, of William Hill, said snow in Leeds had proved to be a disastrous result.

The city had been backed in from 8-1 to 4-7 for snow on Christmas Day.

Mr Sharpe said his company faced a pay-out in the region of 50,000.

Two punters in Glasgow were also counting their winnings. One won 1,600 and another 700.

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See also:

23 Dec 00 | Wales
Snow on cards for Christmas
13 Dec 00 | Americas
A Caribbean White Christmas
25 Dec 99 | UK
White Christmas for London
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