POLICE are facing questions over their decision to erect a forensic tent in Nicola Sturgeon’s front garden when her husband was arrested – with one former police officer calling the move unusual.

The dramatic scene unfolded in April when former SNP chief executive Peter Murrell arrested at his home amid the ongoing police investigation into the party’s finances.

Police officers swarmed their home near Glasgow and put up a forensic tent in the couple’s front garden.

The structures are usually put up at the scene of violent crimes and one former police officer – now an SNP MP – said he had never seen one used while officers were investigating alleged financial crimes.

Allan Dorans, the SNP MP for Ayr, served as a police officer in London from 1972 to 1987.

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He told The National: “In my 15-year career as a police officer in the Metropolitan Police, I never knew any occasions where a tent was erected during the search of premises in relation to the investigation of a case of alleged financial crime.”

It comes after we revealed the cost of the criminal investigation into the SNP now outweighed the sum at the heart of the questions facing the party.

The police probe was sparked by questions around whether the party had appropriately spent £600,000 earmarked for an independence referendum campaign.

To date, the police have spent in excess of £700,000, according to data obtained through a Freedom of Information request shared with this paper.

Gordon Jackson, a retired Royal Bank of Scotland employee, shared the information he received from Police Scotland.

He said police had questions to answer about the investigation and suggested the dramatic scenes outside the first minister’s house earlier this year were unnecessary.

In his Freedom of Information request to Police Scotland, Jackson asked how many tents, gazeboes or temporary structures had been erected at the scene of alleged financial crimes since 2021.

The force said it did not hold the information requested, adding: “By way of explanation, Police Scotland do not collate information in this format.”

Jackson said: “The blue tent that appeared in people’s front gardens – have you ever seen them?

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"Did you see them outside Ibrox, for example, when they were investigating the financial shenanigans there, which they blatantly made a complete mess off because it’s cost them £26 million in costs.

“They don’t do that."

It was reported in November last year the cost to the taxpayer of the Rangers wrongful prosecution scandal now stood at £50m, according to the Crown Office.

Jackson added: “That was a statement by Police Scotland about what they were doing. It was not in the public interest.”

It comes after SNP MSP James Dornan suggested police had colluded with the media to ensure their raid on Sturgeon and Murrell’s home was noticed.

He told The News Agents podcast: “The fact that the police and the media seem to have some kind of collusion about making sure the media are in attendance when the slightest thing happens, it’s like Fred West’s house, when they come to look for a paper trial.”

Police previously said the accusations were “untrue”.

Asked about Dornan’s comments by journalists at Holyrood on Thursday, SNP leader Humza Yousaf said: “I don’t believe that.”

Sturgeon and Murrell, as well as former party treasurer Colin Beattie have all been arrested and questioned by police as suspects in their investigation but so far all have been released without charge.

Speaking at a meeting of the Scottish Police Authority board in May, Chief Constable Iain Livingstone, the head of Police Scotland, chided politicians for casting aspersions on the probe.

“I would request, I would urge, all civic leaders – if offering any comment or thoughts on what is a live investigation, to act with prudence and responsibility,” he said before Sturgeon was arrested.

“Wholly inaccurate assertions and uninformed speculation will only serve to damage justice, infringe the rights of individuals and undermine the rule of law.”