Police fuelling errors cost £62,000

Errors by the

The mistakes, which were discovered after hundreds of police patrol vehicles broke down, have been revealed in a Freedom of Information request, which has detailed that in the past seven years officers put the wrong fuel into cars 332 times.

The force says that this refuelling incompetence could be reproduced over the UK's 43 forces as it is a nationwide problem, adding that the mistake could lead to taxpayers shelling out approximately £380,000 annually.

These errors are being committed in spite of thousands of pounds being spent by police managers to put "talking" petrol caps on patrol cars. The caps remind drivers not to put the wrong fuel into cars through a recorded message playback.

If petrol is put into a diesel vehicle, it could lead to serious damage to the engine to the extent that the whole engine could need changing. This replacement could cost as much as £5,000 for each vehicle.

It is thought that around 400 motorists fill their diesel engines with petrol daily, with the occurrence increasing on Fridays when exhausted employees returning to their houses are least focussed.

A spokeswoman forEssex Police said: "We are constantly reminding staff to ensure they use the correct fuel. However, our staff drive both petrol and diesel vehicles during the course of their work and unfortunately mistakes happen."

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