More than 300 fines for breaking Covid-19 rules were handed out across Scotland over the New Year, Police Scotland has revealed.

In the seven days running up to Sunday, January 3, police issued 305 fixed penalty notices, including to people crossing council boundaries.

A total of 39 of those fines were for breaching travel restrictions, and 18 people were arrested for breaking Covid rules.

Meanwhile, on Hogmanay and New Year's Day, officers were forced to break up more than 800 people in illicit gatherings, despite the Level 4 regulations in place across much of the country and clear advice to stay at home. 

Over the course of December 31 and January 1, police had to "ask / inform", "warn / instruct" or use "reasonable force" a total of 811 times.

However, Police Scotland have said that the figures are indicative and may be higher in reality.

It comes as Police Scotland has reminded members of the public of an online tool that allows them to report ongoing Covid-19 breaches. 

The form, which was first made public in December, allows people to report any breaches of relevant restrictions in place across Scotland. 

With much of the country in Level 4, it is hoped that the new tool can all reports of breaches to be carried out. 

Under Level 4, people should not be meeting in each other houses or have large gatherings. 

However, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is today expected to announce further measures to tackle the rapid spread of the new strain of Covid-19.

In a series of tweets, Ms Sturgeon said: “The rapid increase in Covid cases, driven by the new variant, is of very serious concern.

“The steep increases and severe NHS pressure being experienced in other parts of the UK is a sign of what may lie ahead. So we must take all steps to slow spread while vaccination progresses.

“We, like other countries, are in a race between this faster spreading strain of Covid and the vaccination programme.

“As we work to vaccinate as quickly as possible, we must also do more to slow down the virus – to save lives and help the NHS care for all those who need it.

“Following a meeting of the Scottish government resilience committee yesterday to assess latest situation, the Cabinet will meet tomorrow am to consider further action to limit spread and I’ve asked for Scottish Parliament to be recalled tomorrow afternoon so that I can set out our decisions in a statement.

“All decisions just now are tough, with tough impacts. Vaccines give us way out, but this new strain makes the period between now and then the most dangerous since start of pandemic.

“So the responsibility of government must be to act quickly and decisively in the national interest.”

This is just the fifth time Parliament has been recalled and the second time within the last four weeks, after it sat on December 30 to consider the post-Brexit EU trade deal

Previously, it was convened after the deaths of Donald Dewar in October 2000 and the Queen Mother in April 2002.

It was also reconvened following the release of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, in 2009.