Thousands of married men and women around Britain are turning to adultery to relieve the boredom of being snowed in, according to an extramarital dating website.
Spouses forced to work from home in swathes of the country where snow has brought transport to a standstill are flocking online to search for new romances, according to the website IllicitEncounters.co.uk.
The site, which provides a forum for married people looking to start affairs, says it has gained more than 2,500 new members over the past six days, the majority of whom are registering from the areas worst-hit by the extreme weather.
There has been a particularly high level of applications over the past 24 hours, with a record number of new dating profiles set up as millions of people woke up to heavy snow this morning.
Many of the new applicants are from Hampshire, Berkshire, and West Country, with more than 900 new members joining from Dorset, Devon and Cornwall in the last three days. The site has been forced to employ extra staff to cope with the influx.
The rise in membership is thought to be caused by the boredom of being stuck at home in the snow as the UK knuckles down for its coldest winter in 30 years. Married men and women are also thought to be taking the opportunity to register from home, away from the prying eyes of colleagues in the office.
Sarah Hartley of IllicitEncounters.co.uk said: "The adverse weather has obviously influenced many sign-ups. Usually, the West Country is a relatively quiet area for us – but over the last 3 days we have received over 900 new members from Cornwall, Devon and Dorset.
"Perhaps these wives and husbands have just been waiting for a time when they could join, away from the eyes of their work colleagues and, most importantly, their partners."
The website, which was launched in 2003, has 350,000 members in the UK, the majority of whom are professionals aged between 36 and 40.