UK weather: First snow of the winter expected as parts of Britain see coldest night of the year

Temperatures are plummeting to -5C in rural areas of England and Scotland

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Parts of Britain could see the coldest night of the year so far this week as temperatures plummet below freezing with the arrival of winter.

Friday looks set to see the most extreme weather, with Arctic winds and temperatures as low as -4C awaiting partygoers venturing out in Newcastle, Glasgow, Leeds and other northern cities.

The first snow of winter could fall on hills as far south as Norfolk, Lincolnshire, Lancashire and parts of Wales over the course of the day.

“It is going to get cold over the next few days. Most places will see low single figures and minus temperatures for rural areas,” a forecaster with the Met Office said.

Shropshire shivered in -5C on Tuesday night and the figure could be repeated in the coming days across rural Scotland, northern England and parts of the Midlands.

Sheep graze in a field covered by early morning frost in Bolton Percy in North Yorkshire

Thieves in the north-east have been taking advantage of drivers leaving iced over cars unattended while they defrost to steal them.

Anticipating the cold snap, Cleveland Police issued a Frozen-inspired warning today on Twitter.

It said: “When it's FROZEN, thieves will get their HANS on cars left unattended with their engines running. Don't be the one to LET IT GO.”

Thieves struck in Eaglescliffe, Stockton and Billingham, all in Teesside, as one of the first thick frosts of the winter struck the area.

Chief Superintendent Glenn Gudgeon said: "We would urge people not to leave their vehicles unattended with the engines running, even just to pop into the house for a moment. It is all too easy for an opportunist thief to take advantage and it may mean that you can't make an insurance claim.

"With the arrival of the cold weather which is going to be with us over the next few months, please keep in mind that it only takes a couple of seconds for someone to steal your vehicle. Don't be left out in the cold by thieves."

The Frozen tweet was well-received by Tyne Tees TV presenter Kenny Toal, who wrote: "Best tweet of the day so far! You made me OLAF."

“The cold never bothered thieves anyway,” another commenter added, referencing lyrics from the Disney film’s lead song, "Let It Go".

Public Health England is also warning elderly people and those with underlying health conditions to prepare for cold weather.

Dr Angie Bone, the head of health protection, said: “People should eat warm food and drink hot drinks, heat homes to at least 18C and move about to keep warm.

“We’re also urging everyone to think of someone they know who may be affected by the cold, an elderly relative, friend or neighbour, someone not in the best of health or with very young children, to take the time to think about what they can do to help protect their health this winter.”