More than 800 potential terrorists are being closely monitored for any sign they could attack Cop26, a military intelligence expert has warned.

Former colonel Philip Ingram says the Glasgow climate change conference – which starts next Sunday – will be a “very ripe target” for terrorists with “high potential” for an attack.

More than 100 world leaders including US President Joe Biden will jet into Glasgow along with thousands of business executives, activists and protesters for the summit at the SEC.

Officers were seen getting security checks under way at the site yesterday.

Security fences and CCTV cameras have been erected around the Cop26 venue
Security fences and CCTV cameras have been erected around the Cop26 venue

Ingram has revealed how Police Scotland will be backed up by armed SAS officers, security service personnel and counter-terrorism teams.

He said: “It will not just attract Islamist terrorists, it’s good for right-wing terrorists, the extreme left and for eco terrorists – it is a big target, a very ripe target, and the potential for an attack is high.”

Police Scotland has admitted policing the event will be its biggest challenge yet.

Ingram added: “From the contingency planning perspective, this will be beyond the capability of Police Scotland. In the background, you will have the security service with surge capability.

“Anyone on the terror watchlist – as of today there are probably 800 active investigations into people who could be preparing attacks – the security service will have maximum capability to watch for any indications they might be moving towards threatening Cop26.

Security intelligence expert Philip Ingram
Security intelligence expert Philip Ingram

“Backing that up there will be support from the MoD, with special forces allocated to reinforce the police.”

MI5’s assessment of the threat level of a terror attack in the UK is currently “substantial”.

Police Scotland Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins said: “There is no specific threat. We have a number of mitigations in place as well as contingency plans we can implement immediately if required.”

Graeme Pearson, former director general of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency, said:

“Leaders are coming from all over the globe and many will bring their own baggage in terms of people who don’t agree with them.

"Security must be maintained.”

Don't miss the latest news from around Scotland and beyond - Sign up to our daily newsletter here .