People who are found to be in possession of Class A drugs for personal use can now be issued with a recorded police warning instead of facing automatic prosecution, following a review of guidance by the Lord Advocate.

Dorothy Bain QC, who was appointed Scotland’s most senior law officer in June, told MSPs yesterday that she had decided to implement an extension of recorded police warning guidelines.

She said the move does not amount to decriminalisation for the possession of Class A drugs, which include crack cocaine, cocaine, ecstasy and heroin.

The recorded police warning scheme enables officers to deal with a wide range of low level offences by issuing a warning on the spot or retrospectively, in the form of a notice.