The Scottish Government has been urged to make it illegal for fantasists to masquerade as war heroes by wearing medals they were not awarded.
North-East MSP Liam Kerr called on Holyrood ministers to “protect the honour of the Armed Forces” by examining the prospect of criminalising “deceitful medal wearing”.
And his campaign has been backed by the Lord Lieutenant of Moray, Grenville Johnston, who regularly oversees military parades throughout the region.
The former Lieutenant Colonel with the Territorial Army said he was in favour of the legislation as a way of preserving the integrity of commemorative events.
Mr Kerr yesterday encouraged Veterans Minister Keith Brown to investigate the matter.
The Scottish Government stressed that those who wear medals for personal gain can be – and are – prosecuted under fraud laws.
But Mr Kerr feels more can be done to protect “decent people” from falling for the illusion, even if it is not intended to con them out of money.
The issue was first raised by late north-east MSP Alex Johnstone, who campaigned against “Walter Mitty” types pretending to be decorated heroes before his death last December.
A UK Government Private Members’ Bill to make the false wearing of medals a crime fell by the wayside in May when the snap general election was called.
Mr Kerr now believes Holyrood should take the lead on making the “stolen valour” bill law, as a way of preserving his late colleague’s legacy.
He added: “The UK Bill was due to be read in May, but unfortunately fell because of the election.
“Those we owe the most to, the men and women who serve and protect our country, are in turn deserving of our protection.”
Mr Kerr claimed that two thirds of the forces community have personally come across people wearing medals or insignia awarded to someone else.
And Mr Johnston revealed that, during World War II, his father was responsible for bringing soldiers wearing medals they were not awarded before a court-martial.
He added: “Some of the soldiers would stitch on medals which they had not earned and use them to impress people or get girls to dance with them, on the basis that they were a hero.
“When they were caught, they would have to spend a week or two in jail.
“Although Mr Kerr’s campaign is different in nature, as it applies to civilians, I think that same approach should be taken.
“It would be worthwhile making this a law, so as to deter anyone from pretending to be a veteran and taking the spotlight away from those who truly deserve.”
But the deputy lord lieutenant of Aberdeenshire, Major Mike Tait, questioned whether legal action would be the best way to deal with medal-wearing fraudsters.
The retired justice of the peace said: “Those responsible for this are a bit sick, it is a strange thing to want to bathe in the reflected glory of veterans by marching down the street alongside them.
“It does anger me, I think it’s rather pathetic.
“But having spent 25 years working in court rooms, I don’t think it should be a law.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “For those deliberately seeking to create a false impression for gain, the Scottish legal system is robust enough to take appropriate action. Under the common law of fraud, this is already an illegal activity in Scotland.”