UNIONIST councillors on Moray Council have scored a spectacular own goal with criticism about a Yes group's advertising billboards.

With the owner’s permission, Yes Elgin put three advertising billboards on a derelict C-listed building in the town’s High Street knowing that they would only be up temporarily because the building is due for demolition soon.

Three Tory, two independent and one Labour members of Moray Council complained to the local authority’s chief executive seeking enforcement action to take down the adverts, which state, among other things, Scotland is a net exporter of power and food and drink.

Independent councillor Derek Ross, who does not represent Elgin but is the member for Speyside Glenlivet, claimed to the Press and Journal that the billboards were breaking regulations regarding advertising on a listed building.

He said: “Using a listed building for political slogans sets a dangerous precedent for future use in that way.

“People should be able to go about their business in the town without intrusive political billboards from any political party.

“I think it breaches regulations in the form of listed buildings as they would have needed consent to advertise there.

“For any individual or company to be doing this, do the public really want to see it – and when will it end?

“Can any empty building become the face of propaganda?”

Comments on social media show the story is spreading beyond Elgin, with one comment on the P & J website saying: “It’s letting the people have a taste of the truth about our country.”

A local SNP source said: “This has really backfired on the councillors who instigated the complaint because very few people outside Elgin knew about the Yes adverts and now the story is all over the press.

“People far and wide now know about how the unionists tried to prevent the facts being shown to the public.”

A Yes Elgin spokesperson told The National: “This is a cheap and very effective method of getting the Yes message out in the heart of a community, something which many Yes groups could achieve with a little effort. The signs have been well received by many Yes supporters.

“We expect that this complaint is politically motivated.”

A spokesperson for the building’s owners Action Elgin added: “We suspect that the real objection is not to the signs themselves, but to the messages displayed on them.”

A Moray Council spokesperson confirmed that the complaint had been received and added: “The building is due for demolition, with the façade to be rebuilt as part of the planning application.”

The National has asked councillors for comment.