Thousands of pounds have been spent on north-east police stations despite the buildings being closed down, new figures have revealed.
Information obtained by the Scottish Conservatives show Police Scotland shelled out more than £33,000 on mothballed stations in Oldmeldrum, Cruden Bay, Kemnay and Portsoy since the beginning of 2017/18.
The costs built up over the last two financial years were for maintaining the buildings, and include bills and business rates.
The cash has been paid, despite Police Scotland deciding in 2017 that the four stations were no longer needed as part of plans to save £1.5 million.
The answer to a Freedom of Information request tabled by the Tories found the police paid the most on Oldmeldrum and Kemnay, which cost the force around £21,000 in the last two years.
Police Scotland said the four stations had now been sold in the current financial year of 2019/20.
Shadow justice secretary and North East MSP Liam Kerr accused the Scottish Government of “abandoning” community policing and claimed thousands of pounds had been “wasted complying with the SNP’s brutal business rates regime” in the north-east.
“This is money that could have been used on our hardworking officers and resourcing them instead of siphoning funds to Holyrood for use in the Central Belt,” Mr Kerr said.
Assistant Chief Constable John Hawkins said Police Scotland inherited buildings that had suffered from a lack of investment.
“Some buildings are no longer in the right place, operationally fit for purpose or designed in a way which allows us to work alongside key partners,” he said.
“We understand how important local police presence is to communities and, with appropriate investment, we can improve on the current position.
“Following consultation, processes were followed to dispose of these four properties however, while those processes were on-going, Police Scotland was required to meet certain costs.
“Their disposals generated capital receipts which can be reinvested in our policing priorities, while recurring savings have also been achieved.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said resource allocation was a matter for the chief constable and the Scottish Police Authority.
The spokesman added: “We know Police Scotland’s revised estate strategy, approved in May this year, outlines their intention to re-invest £150million worth of sales of assets back into Police Scotland buildings as part of a total £400million investment.”