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A NOTORIOUS biker gang with links to organised crime have set up their first chapter in Scotland.
The formation of the Scottish branch of the Outlaws comes just months after European police agency Europol warned we were an "untapped market".
The new branch have already received good luck messages from chapters across Europe, including Germany, France, Poland, Iceland and the Czech Republic.
Police last night confirmed they are monitoring the development.
A message posted by the chapter in Newport, Wales, read: "Congratulations to our Brothers in Scotland - The First Outlaw MC Chapter in Scotland.
"Hopefully many more to follow."
Details about the membership of the Scottish chapter, who were set up in July, are sketchy but sources have indicated it is based in Dundee.
It is understood Scots bikers recently travelled to Pentrich, Derbyshire, to meet English counterparts.
One of the group's leaders, nicknamed Lopez, used the gang's website to express his gratitude for the good wishes.
He posted: "On behalf of Outlaws MC Scotland, we would like to thank our brothers across the nation for their messages of support and the opportunity to expand the nation."
Four years ago, motorbike gangs hit the headlines after Hells Angel Gerry Tobin was shot dead on the M40 in Warwickshire.
Seven men, who were members of the South Warwickshire chapter of the Outlaws, were jailed for the murder.
There are 24 English chapters, six in Wales and six in Ireland.
Experts believe there are around 500 motorcycle gangs in Europe.
The Outlaws, founded in 1935 in a bar on Route 66 near Chicago, is one of the biggest.
The gang have a nwe presence around the globe, with more than 200 chapters in Europe, Australia, Asia, the US and Canada.
Members wear black leather jackets with a crossed piston and skull motif on the back.
The threat posed by biker gangs was highlighted by the Record last November after we travelled to Europol HQ in The Hague, in the Netherlands.
Detective Sergeant David Wilson told us it was only a matter of time before gangs such as the Outlaws, Hells Angels and Banditos reached Scotland.
Wilson, Scottish liaison to Europol, said: "They are the Mafia in leather jackets, a real worldwide network that can supply drugs and firearms.
"The gangs are into prostitution and extortion and will control a town."
The team at Europol gave the Record unprecedented access to witness first hand their war on the underworld.
One of their key tasks is identifying the criminal threats of the future - and biker gangs are near the top of the agenda.
Europol director general Rob Wainwright told us: "These gangs are certainly responsible for a large amount of criminal activity and in some cases a very serious criminal activity, including drug trafficking."
He added: "They have an infrastructure already in the UK and I'd expect them to treat that as a natural opportunity."
Wilson, of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency, said the gangs present a major challenge to police.
He said: "You can't argue with what has happened elsewhere in Europe.
"They profit from drugs and extortion and they are also very public in what they do. Because they have a network which spawns right across the Atlantic, to a certain extent, it is secure.
"They have their own systems in place and their own trust.
"They only deal with certain people who are already members of these gangs.
"To disrupt them is very, very difficult."