Police fork out £75,000 for “misfuelling” squad cars

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By Rory Reynolds

SCOTS police forces have had to fork out £75,000 to repair hundreds of squad cars after bungling bobbies filled them up with the wrong fuel.

On more than 400 occasions police vehicles had to be serviced after their drivers put petrol into diesel engines, or vice versa.

And one small force even spent £10,200 on fixing just two vehicles after “misfuelling” left them badly damaged.

Critics have blasted the errors as “unbelievable”, and have called for police bosses to “get a grip” on the costly mishaps.

Figures obtained under Freedom of Information laws showed that Strathclyde accounted for the lion’s share of damaged cars, spending a staggering £35,830 on 240 vehicles in the period 2005-2009.Northern Constabulary, the largest force by area, had to spend £12,000 over the last four years to fix 60 vehicles, while the neighbouring Grampian force had to pay out £6240 over two years to repair 52 vehicles.

Severely damaged

Smaller forces revealed that while only a handful of vehicles had to be serviced after misfuelling, there was a heavy cost per vehicle.

Police in Fife had to spend £10,200 last year on just two vehicles, both severely damaged after misfuelling, while Lothian and Borders spent £4540 on just two vehicles in 2007-2008.

A Spokesperson for Strathclyde Police said: “The number of these instances have decreased dramatically since 2005.

“Any organisation which requires staff to use vehicles will tell you there is an element of human error involved which is difficult to completely mitigate against.

“Strathclyde Police is continuously testing new devices which may help to eliminate this issue.

“In addition we are considering the use of vehicles with single fuelling points which will eliminate the problem.”

Despite the efforts of most forces to use devices preventing misfuelling, there were 63 cases in 2009 alone.

Around two per cent of all RAC call-outs involve misfuelling, while the AA estimated that some 12,600 drivers misfuel their car in Scotland each year.

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