No prosecution followed in 30% of cases where an offer of a fiscal fine was refused over the last three years, according to data in a freedom of information request.

The Scottish Conservatives obtained the figures, which show that no further action was taken in 411 out of 1,344 cases where offers of a fine of up to £300 (£500 under the temporary COVID-19 legislation) were made to people charged with minor offences, as an alternative to prosecution.

The proportions were higher in 2018-19 (189 out of 488) and 2019-20 (180 out of 449) than in 2020-21, the pandemic year (42 out of 407).

Fiscal fines are not recorded as a conviction, but the person charged can reject an offer if they wish to have the matter tested in court through a prosecution.

The Conservatives described the figures as showing "the reality of the SNP's soft-touch justice system, which routinely betrays crime victims". However the Scottish Government said that decisions in individual cases as to what action to take if an offer was not taken up were "entirely a matter for the independent Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service".