A VAN driver thought wearing a seatbelt would ruin his tan – just one excuse made during a crackdown in Hampshire.

A total of 441 people including six children were caught not wearing seatbelts by police in Hampshire last week as part of a European-wide campaign.

Officers from Hampshire’s roads policing unit stopped eight drivers in 45 minutes when they were positioned in Worting Road, by the Morrisons supermarket, last Wednesday.

The offenders were given the choice of paying a £100 fine of £30 for an online course to learn about the dangers of not wearing a seatbelt.

Sergeant Rob Heard, Hampshire’s road safety officer, said forgetting to wear the belt was the biggest excuse heard by officers.

But he added: “We have had some interesting excuses though as well.

“One man told us he did not want to ruin his tan. 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.”

Others stated it was their right to choose whether to wear a seat belt, while others complained the belts did not fit them, despite adjusters and extenders being available to buy.

As well as the 441 seatbelt offences, 61 others were detected, including using a mobile phone while driving and driving with no insurance.

Sgt Heard added: “It has been surprising how many people are still not wearing their seatbelts and not really understanding the risks they are putting themselves under.

“The devastating injuries or possible fatal injuries you can receive from not wearing a seatbelt really should encourage everyone to belt up.”