Anyone holding a house party with more than 15 people present from more than one household, will be committing an offence under anti-coronavirus regulations in force from today.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the rules, which will be reviewed every three weeks, were necessary to ensure socialising can continue in a safe and responsible manner ahead of an expected rise in indoor gatherings during autumn and winter months.

Reports from local outbreak incident management teams suggest that the increasing number of house parties taking place against guidance pose a major risk of COVID-19 transmission and could present high-risk "super-spreader" environments.

Scottish Government guidance remains that no more than eight people from a maximum of three different households should be meeting indoors. The Government however said that the regulations took account of varying sizes and compositions of families across Scotland, in making 15 people from more than one household present, with limited exceptions, the threshold for an offence.

Ms Sturgeon commented: "I want to make it very clear – particularly to young people – that this is not about stopping you having fun, but enabling you to have fun safely.

"Ensuring police have the powers to enter and disperse large house parties is another tool in suppressing the virus. While we expect these powers to be used as a last resort, it will help to reduce the potential for future clusters and outbreaks."