SCOTLAND is in the grip of a hidden crime epidemic – with sex offenders, domestic abusers and shoplifters being let off with a slap on the wrist.

Figures revealed yesterday that more than 7,500 shoplifters – around four a day – have escaped prosecution and been issued with soft-touch warnings instead.

It also emerged that more than 1,500 domestic abuse cases over the past three years had ended with ‘diversion’ from prosecution, warnings and fines.

The new figures come as more than 100,000 ‘recorded police warnings’ (RPWs) were dished out to criminals in the past five years, including for sex offences. SNP Justice Secretary Angela Constance has been accused of ‘creating a parallel system of secret justice’ that is allowing crime to run rife.

Scottish Tory justice spokesman Russell Findlay said RPWs ‘are being used in response to a wide range of serious crimes, including violence, fraud and sex offences’.

He added: ‘Thousands of shoplifters have also been let off with a warning. Shoplifting is not a victimless crime. It causes fear and misery to retail workers and devastates local businesses.

Want to see more SNP fails? – Health Matters

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