Nicola Sturgeon as first minister

Image showing Nicola Sturgeon in police car is False

Nicola Sturgeon’s arrest on Sunday led to a media storm, as Scotland’s most high-profile politician was taken into custody by police. 

Images posted on social media claimed to show a picture of the former first minister in the back of a police car, with comments suggesting this had been taken after Sturgeon’s arrest.

Digitally altered picture of Nicola Sturgeon in a police car with Ferret False logo

Ferret Fact Service looked at this claim and found it False.

Ferret Fact Service | Scotland's impartial fact check project


Nicola Sturgeon was arrested by Police Scotland on 11 June, as part of the investigation into the SNP’s finances called Operation Branchform. She is the third figure in the party to be arrested as part of the probe, after her husband Peter Murrell and former treasurer Colin Beattie.

The home outside Glasgow shared by Murrell and Sturgeon was also searched in April, as well as the SNP’s headquarters.

Hours after she was taken into custody on Sunday morning, a picture began to circulate showing the Glasgow Southside MSP apparently photographed inside a police car. 

The image was shared thousands of times across Twitter and other platforms. 

However, it has been digitally altered. 

The original image was taken in April 2017 by photographer John Linton, and has appeared regularly in media since then. It shows Sturgeon leaving the first minister’s residence at Bute House in Edinburgh while she was first minister. Other images from the same series show her getting into the car. 

There are other telltale signs in the doctored image, including rain on the window on which the image of Sturgeon has been superimposed. 

In a statement, a spokeswoman for Sturgeon said the MSP had been arrested and questioned “by arrangement with Police Scotland”.

Ferret Fact Service verdict: False

The widely-shared image of Nicola Sturgeon allegedly in the back seat of a police car after being arrested has been digitally altered. The original image of the former first minister was taken in 2017 in a ministerial car.

This claim is false

Photo credit: Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament

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