GREENOCK police station is set to be closed within months as force bosses look to make huge budget savings, the Telegraph can reveal.

It is understood that a timescale of between six and nine months has been set for the Rue End Street building to be mothballed.

Meanwhile, Police Scotland has refused to say whether another HQ for its Inverclyde operations has been identified - stating only that a 'police presence' will remain in the Greenock area.

A series of questions from the Telegraph about the future shape of policing in the district have gone unanswered by the force.

However, a source said: "The current police office needs about £6m worth of upgrades and that is simply not possible in the current climate.

"We've been told that the station will close within the next year but no-one knows what the final outcome will be."

Greenock police has one of the largest custody suites in the country, taking in arrested people from other divisions across Scotland every week.

Another source said: "Whatever happens, it looks as though operations in Greenock as far as an operational hub is concerned will be scaled down."

It was revealed earlier this year that Renfrewshire and Inverclyde would be losing 17 police posts.

Councillor David Wilson, chair of the Inverclyde Council's police scrutiny panel, said he would be 'very disappointed' if the Rue End Street base closed.

He told the Telegraph: "It's important that Inverclyde has a police station and that it is manned at all times. 

"I have heard that at some stage there would be a rationalisation of services and that some staff would move into council offices but I haven't heard that it [the station] would be closing completely. 

"We're already seeing the police budget being cut and that we will be losing 17 officers across Renfrewshire and Inverclyde which is a great disappointment."

Police scrutiny panel vice chair, Councillor Drew McKenzie, said: "I don't think it's any secret that there will be changes in the not too distant future so it doesn't come as a surprise to me if that's the case.

"I'm really interested to find out from Police Scotland what the plans are."

But Police Scotland are remaining tight-lipped on those plans.

A force spokesperson said: "Details of the next phase of proposed disposals are being finalised and will be announced in due course.

"A police presence will remain in the Greenock area."

Former Renfrewshire and Inverclyde divisional commander, Chief Superintendent Laura Waddell, said in July that Greenock was 'next on the list' and that it was 'actively being looked at'. 

Police Scotland Chief Constable Jo Farrell recently spoke at a meeting of the Scottish Police Authority about sharing services, acceleration of estate strategy, the disposal of properties being finalised, and the sale of buildings across Scotland. 

The Telegraph asked Police Scotland to confirm when the station would close, and if the closure would affect staffing levels. 

We also requested information on how the changes would impact upon prisoners held in the station's custody suite. 

Chief Superintendent Waddell told the police scrutiny panel earlier this year: "As you know our estate isn't very great in some areas across Scotland and we've been working hard across Scotland to fix that.

"Greenock is next on the list. It's actively being looked at right now, but it will not move out with the general area.

"We've agreed that already.

"We've been looking at various sites across Greenock in terms of suitability, there is nothing in place as of yet in terms of anything but we're speaking with the council in relation to potential future sites.

"The office we have in Greenock at the moment was built I think in the 60s, it's no longer what we need for a modern police station so we need to find something better that would work both for our officers but also for our communities."