A former SNP chief spin doctor has compared the party's cash probe to the botched Rangers prosecution. 

Nicola Sturgeon’s ex head of communications Murray Foote said the investigation had become a "grotesque circus". 

Speaking with The Daily Record, the former media chief - who resigned over the SNP membership scandal - warned of "serious consequences" if police investigation turns out to be baseless. 

He said: “The fallout would have serious consequences for the investigating authorities. 

“Given the grim spectacle at the house Peter Murrell shares with Nicola Sturgeon and at the party HQ, it’s inconceivable the authorities would be so cavalier without slam dunk evidence, right? 

“Not necessarily. One word counters that assumption: Rangers.” 

The Herald:

Murray Foote 

The investigation into the Rangers takeover as found to be a ‘malicious prosecution’ by the Crown Office, which has still not been fully resolved.  

So far, more than £51million of taxpayer’s cash has been paid out to those wrongly arrested during the investigation into the financial collapse of Rangers. 

READ MORE: SNP treasurer Colin Beattie - 'I didn't know about £110,000 motorhome'

Mr Foote added: “So, the authorities have previous for high-profile inquiries collapsing in scandal. 

“If they have spectacularly misjudged this one too, then the reputational cost will be far more substantial than the cash spent on manpower.” 

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The SNP has been gripped by the fraud probe, named Operation Branchform, which has Police Scotland investigating whether there was any criminality linked to the spending of around £500,000 of cash raised for an IndyRef2 campaign. 

The Herald:

Nicola Sturgeon 

Mr Foote criticised the extent of the raid on Ms Sturgeon's home, saying: “The use of forensic tents and a whole platoon of plod at the house turned a routine process into a grotesque circus, compounded by the storming of SNP HQ. 

“Police diligently going about their business is one thing. What happened at FM’s home is something else entirely.” 

The investigation has already seen Ms Sturgeon's husband Peter Murrell and former party treasurer Colin Beattie arrested and later released without charge. 

READ MORE: Alba urge people to demand and pass on Indyref2 refunds from SNP

Last month it emerged officers who raided Ms Sturgeon's home were looking into designer pens, burner phones and a fridge freezer. 

A luxury £110k motorhome which was to be used as a party battle bus was also seized, which current First Minister Humza Yousaf said he wasn't aware of until he became SNP leader.