POLICE have issued a warning to motorists to take extra care on the roads this winter after more than 20 accidents and breakdowns in the Musselburgh area over a two-week period.

Community constable Graeme Bairden highlighted the issue during his report to Musselburgh & Inveresk Community Council.

He said that from November 27 to December 11 there had been more than 20 such incidents.

He said: “There have been many calls to police to assist drivers who have either been involved in road traffic collisions or whose vehicles have broken down.

“I would ask motorists to ensure their vehicles are prepared for the coming winter conditions and that they take care on the roads at this time of year.

“Driving at this time of the year is difficult as the sun is very low in the sky at times.

“It is vital to make sure things like ‘skooshers’ are filled up and windows are clean.”

He stressed: “They should also bear in mind that if they have been drinking alcohol, they may still be over the legal limit to drive the next morning. If in doubt, do not risk driving.

“A recent example in west Edinburgh saw a driver banned for 20 months and fined £700 for being over the prescribed limits.”

PC Bairden added: “The Police Scotland website has lots of guidance on keeping yourself safe over the festive period. It includes guidance and advice on road, home, shopping and party safety.”

He said that from November 27 to December 11 there had been a total of 245 calls to police from the Musselburgh area.

In addition to the accidents and breakdowns, several speed checks were carried out in local areas and 18 drivers were warned about speeding.

This included on Carberry Road at Inveresk, where it is hoped East Lothian Council will introduce measures to slow down traffic.

One driver was arrested for drink-driving in the Musselburgh area.

While two people and a vehicle were stopped and searched by officers and found in possession of personal quantities of drugs.

With regard to anti-social behaviour, there were eight noise/loud music complaints.

There were six youth calls, including one which involved a bus shelter being smashed, with arrests made in relation to this incident.

There were also three minor vandalisms and two reports of cars being driven at speed and revving engines in the Tesco car park.

PC Bairden said that road traffic police caught up with a vehicle at Old Craighall Roundabout and the driver received an ASBO for making a noise by revving an engine.

He said that two warnings were given and, if motorists failed to heed those, their vehicles would be taken off them.

PC Bairden added: “High-visibility patrols are being carried out in Musselburgh town centre and the surrounding areas at weekends, with particular attention given to the public houses to prevent any disorder.”

He said youth hotspots were also identified.

There were 10 reports of shoplifting, two minor thefts and a shop broken into.

Two bikes were stolen, one of which had been put against a wall as its owner popped into a shop. When he came out, his bike, worth about £500, had been taken in an “opportunist” theft.

PC Bairden said: “At this time of the year, people are going to have valuable stuff lying about the house.

“Just be careful.”

He said that there had been issues with people “trying” car doors in Ladywell and at the back of The Brunton.

“Again, it is opportunists going round and just trying any car door and any door that’s open, and will grab what they can,” he warned.

PC Bairden added that police had also received seven or eight calls regarding swans on a road at Stoneyhill but they were all ushered to safety.