'Wrong fuel' costs force £23,000

A UK police force has had to pay out more than £23,000 because of bungling police officers and civilian staff putting the wrong fuel in their cars.

Damage done to police cars as a result of the errors has cost Avon and Somerset Police £23,297 - and put 108 force cars out of action and contacting roadside breakdown services - over the past three years.

The biggest cost to the force was in the 2007/08 financial year when they spent £8,870 on repairs, according to figures released under the Freedom of Information Act. In 2006/07 the bill was £8,353 and the year before that the cost was £6,074.

"It happens around 50 times a year, which sounds a lot, but when you consider that we actually fill up around 57,000 times in a year it doesn't sound quite so bad," an Avon and Somerset police spokesman said.

"Instances of when a vehicle has been filled with the wrong fuel have never affected the service delivered by Avon and Somerset Constabulary as the force always has available alternative vehicles."

He said that some motor manufacturers had now recognised and responded to the issue, adding: "Other manufacturers are following and so we anticipate this problem will begin to disappear."

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