A SINGLE security and intelligence service in an independent Scotland will not offer the protection now provided as part of the UK, says a former chief of MI6.

Sir John Scarlett said British intelligence services have been built up over decades,"work which cannot be replicated in a few years".

The Scottish Government set out proposals to create a single agency for security and intelligence in its white paper on independence.

Writing in a London-based newspaper, Sir John, chief of the British Secret Intelli-gence Service from 2004 to 2009, said: "The Scottish Government proposals will not offer the level of protec-tion and support provided by the highly-sophisticated British security and intelligence agencies."

Former counter-terrorism chief for police in Scotland and Yes supporter Allan Burnett said a Scottish intelligence service would be welcomed as a trusted ally.