THE walls of Glasgow School of Art are in "imminent danger of collapse" after moving six inches in places as a result of the fire, it has emerged.

Susan Aitken, leader of Glasgow City Council, said the movement of the building's facade had prompted fears for public safety.

Concerns about the safety of the surviving shell of the Mackintosh building have also delayed a full survey of the damage until next week.

She gave further details of the damage as the Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell visited the site. He said it was "shocking" to see the destruction, but said the UK government was ready to help.

Ms Aitken said: "It is a dangerous building, there is no question about that. The facade has actually moved quite considerably - about six inches. There is an imminent danger of collapse."

She said the council was doing everything in its powers to help businesses and residents displaced by the fire and asked surrounding residents to make contact with a council team based at the nearby dental hospital.

Following his visit Mr Mundell described the scene as one of "devastation" that was "utterly shocking to behold".

He said: "Having seen the splendour of the painstakingly refurbished building just two weeks ago, it is an absolutely heartbreaking sight.

"My sincere thanks go to the fire service personnel who fought so hard to ensure no lives were lost and the damage was not even worse.

"It is still early stages in properly assessing the damage, but we all hope the building can be saved, and the UK Government stands ready to help."

Restrictions around the site remain with building control officers continuing to warn people to stay away from the site. They said the end walls of the building could fall into the street "without warning" after reports were received of people breaching the cordon.

Residents have said they are frustrated by the lack of access to their homes to collect essential items as well as the poor standard of alternative accommodation they have been offered.

Raymond Barlow, heading of building control for Glasgow City Council, said: "I fully understand people's desire to get back into their property and if we could safely do anything to facilitate that then we would.

"However surveys in recent days have shown us that the West and East elevations remain of significant concern.

"This means that there is a risk that parts of the building might fall into Scott Street or Dalhousie Street. This could happen without warning."

Jane Sutherland, the chair of the Garnethill community council, said many displaced residents, a mix of private owners and housing association tenants, had been staying on friends’ sofas as they waited for further information.

She said: “People are very upset about the inconsistency that members of the art school board are allowed in to have their photographs taken next to the building, but they can’t even get five minutes in their own homes to collect their hearing aids."

Meanwhile, police revealed looters broke into a bar close to the art school which has been shut since the blaze.

Police received a report of a break-in at Campus on Sauchiehall Street in the early hours of Thursday morning.

The bar is inside the cordon put up to seal off the area following the blaze at the art school which started at around 11.20pm on Friday June 15 and spread to nearby buildings including the O2 ABC music venue.