Police are investigating fraud allegations over £295,000 of taxpayers’ money given to the publisher of a book of Nicola Sturgeon’s speeches.

Officers from the financial crimes unit are probing claims rules were broken when Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) awarded grants and loans to Sandstone Press of Inverness.

The firm – run by ardent nationalist and SNP supporter Robert Davidson – was given £120,000 in the 12 months leading up to the publication of Women Hold Up Half the Sky: Selected Speeches of Nicola Sturgeon.

The book – with a foreword by crime writer Val McDermid – was promoted in the run-up to the Holyrood election in May and released four days later.

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