Churches in Scotland will remain vigilant but "resist the temptation to turn into fortresses" in the wake of the brutal murder of a priest in France.

Both the Catholic Church and the Church of Scotland have been issued with guidance from police following the attack on Father Jacques Hamel at the church of Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray, near Rouen, on Tuesday morning.

The killers, followers of Islamic State, forced the 86-year-old priest to his knees before slitting his throat and preaching in Arabic at the altar.

A spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland said the church will take guidance from Police Scotland to help ensure the safety of clergy.

He added: "Churches must remain open to all as places of solitude and sanctuary in times of turmoil. While resisting the temptation to turn them into fortresses, we must be vigilant."

Reverend Martin Scott, secretary to the Council of Assembly of the Church of Scotland, said the attack on Fr Hamel was an assault on the existence of the church.

"We welcome both friend and stranger," he said. "Being open and inclusive is not just something we do, but who we are.

"The Church of Scotland stands in solidarity with our Catholic sisters and brothers in this time of shock and deep sadness.

"Our churches remain open and welcoming to all who seek compassion and comfort.

"We need to be aware of the violence that is in our world and alert to the dangers. It is important for our ministers and Church workers to take all sensible precautions to ensure both their own safety and that of others who visit us from day to day.

"The Church of Scotland is in close contact with Police Scotland who have offered advice on good practice in relation to safety. Their advice is simple: Be Alert, but not Alarmed. We believe that is good advice.

"A copy of more detailed guidance on good practice in relation to safety has been reissued to all ministers by email."