FINES for breaking lockdown rules have been issued by police in the Lothian & Borders area.

Chief Constable Iain Livingstone has praised the vast majority of people for obeying social-distancing guidelines.

But across Scotland a total of 144 fixed penalty notices were handed out between March 27 and April 1.

Under new coronavirus-related laws, officers have the power to enforce social distancing – and can issue fines of £60 (reduced to £30 if paid within 28 days).

In the Lothian & Borders, a total of nine fines were issued between March 27 and April 1.

The power to hand out fines will be reviewed at least every 21 days to ensure it is still necessary.

Scottish justice secretary Humza Yousaf said: “Everyone should be staying at home wherever possible and I am hugely encouraged by the high levels of compliance around the country after the first week of these rules being in force.

“These rules are in place to slow down the spread of COVID-19 which will protect the NHS and save lives. "While Police Scotland have powers of enforcement, I expect that these will be used only as a last resort, and that the vast majority of people will use their common sense and play a full part in this country-wide effort.”

National clinical director Jason Leitch said: “The best way of slowing down the spread of coronavirus is social distancing, so I must thank Police Scotland for working with members of the public to keep them safe and encourage them to comply with these regulations.

“I would remind everyone that if you do have to leave your house for any of the essential reasons – food, medicine, care, exercise or work, and you absolutely cannot do them at home – then please stay two metres away from people you don’t live with, and keep human contact as limited as possible.”