MELBOURNE, Fla. -

Police in a central Florida city have been issuing scratch-off lottery tickets instead of speeding tickets to Christmas Day travelers.

By early Wednesday afternoon, Melbourne Police officers had handed out 30 lottery tickets along with warnings to drivers caught speeding or making other traffic violations.

Sgt. Jamie Rocque told Florida Today that officers bought the lottery tickets with their own money to spread a bit of holiday cheer while ensuring public safety.

Rocque says the officers have been getting "a lot of surprised looks."