Warsaw - Ten people have died of cold in Poland over the past day, taking the toll since winter set in earlier this month to 79, police said Tuesday.

A national police spokeswoman told AFP that 10 people had been found dead since Monday.

The majority of the victims were homeless men who died while drunk, police said.

Fifty-two of the 79 deaths recorded since December 1 occurred since Friday, as temperatures plunged to minus 20 degrees Celsius (minus four Fahrenheit).

By Tuesday, temperatures had risen to around zero degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit).

Police and municipal employees have boosted patrols in areas where the homeless gather, notably public parks and allotments, to try to persuade them to head to special hostels.

The death toll is far from unusual in Poland, which regularly faces harsh winter conditions.

In the 2008 to 2009 winter season, for example, police recorded 82 deaths from hypothermia.

Poland's highest winter toll in recent years was in 2005 to 2006, when 233 died.

Source: Agence Presse France