A MAN in Hampshire who was stopped by police for not wearing his seatbelt had said he did not want to ruin his tan.

As part of a European-wide crackdown Hampshire police have caught a total of 441 people including the man who blamed the good weather for not wearing his seatbelt.

Hampshire's road safety officer, Sergeant Rob Heard, said: “Due to the recent sunny weather he had caught a tan to his chest and felt the belt would wear some of the tan away.”

Hampshire police stopped a number of people as part of the campaign, which ran from March 10-16, which also included six children.

“A couple of people stated they never wore a seatbelt and would still not wear one because they felt that was their right,” Sergeant Heard added. “Others complained that their seat belt did not fit them - however adjusters and extenders are available and it is not a valid excuse.”

The law has been in place since 1983 and those caught may face a fine of up to £500.

“It has been surprising how many people are still not wearing their seatbelts and not really understanding the risks they are putting themselves under,” he said.

“The devastating injuries or possible fatal injuries you can receive from not wearing a seat belt really should encourage everyone to belt up. It is just not worth risking your life and the heartache your family will feel from your loss.

“European research shows that about 50 per cent of all car occupants that die in a fatal accident in the EU could have survived of they had worn a seatbelt.

“I have noted from the checks I have attended, that many of those caught not wearing a seatbelt are van drivers who state they wear the belts in their cars but forget to wear them in their vans when at work, sometimes because they are only travelling short distances. The law states you must wear a seatbelt unless you are driving a goods vehicle on deliveries and are travelling no more than 50 metres between stops.

“It would appear that the majority of people do wear seatbelts, but we still need to encourage everyone to do so. This campaign has been good at raising awareness and we will continue to stop anyone who is seen not wearing a seatbelt. Remember the old saying 'Clunk Click' every trip? It's still very relevant today.”