RUGBY players helped kick off Christmas by swapping Santa’s sleigh for a tractor when hazardous snow conditions hit. 

Santa Claus and his elves arrived in a Massey Ferguson on Sunday when visiting a Christmas party for young players from Dursley Rugby Football Club. 

The rugby minis, aged four to nine, cheered as the VIPs arrived by tractor at Hamfields Leisure in Berkeley. 

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Dursley RFC coach Simon Bilous said: “Father Christmas used suitable transport to get to the minis Christmas party, ably assisted by his elves.

"The kids all loved playing on the inflatables and other play equipment, and meeting Santa and his elves in his grotto and getting gifts."

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Police issues warning

POLICE have issued a fresh warning for low temperatures in the aftermath of the weekend’s snow which caused chaos in Dursley.

Low temperatures are set to last all week with Thursday seeing an overnight low of -6C. 

This follows several inches of snow which fell in the town overnight on Sunday morning, causing chaos for the rest of the day and on Monday. 

Meanwhile Sunday’s snow caused travel chaos with icy conditions in the morning which led to a multiple-vehicle crash on the M5 between Junction J11A near Stonehouse and J12 near Quedgeley. 

The motorway was blocked with long delays but all lanes were eventually reopened in the afternoon. 

Meanwhile the A417 on Sunday afternoon between the M5 and A429 was also closed in both directions due to heavy snowfall in the area.

Glos Police Specialist Ops said on Sunday that the force was dealing with an ‘unprecedented’ amount of weather related incidents across the county. 

Gloucestershire police also closed two roads on Monday due to weather conditions  - the A436 near the Air Balloon Roundabout and the A435 near Charlton Hill to avoid more incidents. 

Gritters were also out on the roads on Sunday and Monday, trying to treat the key routes. 

Many secondary schools including Rednock and SGS Berkeley Green plus dozens of primary schools were all forced to close on Monday.

However some schools were open like Katharine Lady Berkeley’s and Coaley C of E Primary which were both open on Monday morning. 

The vast majority of schools reopened on Tuesday. 

Significant disruption was also caused to buses in the town. 

Stagecoach were unable to operate any services in Dursley on Sunday. 

On Monday Stagecoach said it was ‘confident’ that it was safe to run their buses. 

The 65 Stroud to Dursley route was however heavily affected by cancellations on Monday. 

The Met Office has forecast no more snow for Dursley this week but temperatures will remain low.

Thursday will be slightly warmer during the day, rising to 0C, falling to -5C overnight.

And Friday will have a high of 1C, then fall to -2C overnight.

Popular events and venues around the area were also shut or cancelled with last minute decisions being made. 

Cotswold Edge Golf Club was closed on Sunday while Wotton Heritage Centre was closed on Monday and Tuesday. 

Two Dursley RFC fixatures were also postponed on Friday due to referee availability and pitch conditions.

However the derby match between Forest Green Rovers and Cheltenham Town took place on Saturday despite the cold conditions with the referee assessing the surface just two hours before kick-off to confirm the game would be played.