Bookmakers are cutting the odds for 25 December 2016 being the warmest since records began as UK temperatures this month reached a high of 17C. Ladbrokes has cut by half its price from 16/1 to 8/1. Worldwide, 2016 is forecast to be the hottest since the 1950s.

Christmas Day 2015 holds the record for being the warmest, as Devon was the mildest spot in Britain, where temperatures hit 16C. The Scottish Highlands are the current holders for warmest temperatures which had thermometer readings of 18.3C in 1948.

The latest mild spell is due to southwesterly winds bringing balmy air across the UK from the Atlantic. According to the Met Office, "For Wales, southwest England and southeast England it has been the mildest start to December using data back to 1960."

Snow is likely to fall between January and March 2017, say the Met Office.

The warm weather is tricking some wildlife into believing that spring is already here. Around 300 baby hedgehogs were homed at a nature sanctuary in Rochdale after the animals thought that the hibernation period was over and the spring mating season had begun.

In the university town of Cambridge, punting companies often shut in December as the River Cam ices over, but this year, tourists are still flocking to go on tours due to the mild weather.

Betting odds are usually placed on the occurrence of a white Christmas, but according to Coral's Nicola McGeady, "This year it is the complete opposite as bets pour in on the hottest one ever," she told the Telegraph.

Jessica Bridge of Ladbrokes said: "The odds of a warm Christmas are falling as quick as the balmy temperatures are rising. If the mercury continues to soar punters could well be barbecuing their turkey and sprouts this year."

Aberdeen is the favourite to see snowfall on 25 December this year, according to Coral. The coldest Christmas Day on record was in 2010, with temperatures of -18.2C at Althnaharra.