Cops' petrol blunder costs thousands

Clumsy drivers say that it happens to the best of us - and now we know it really does!

SUFFOLK: Clumsy drivers say that it happens to the best of us - and now we know it really does!

Putting the wrong fuel in your car is every motorist's nightmare - but since April officers at Suffolk Constabulary have managed it 15 times.

Figures also reveal our blundering bobbies have gotten the wrong end of the gear stick on more than 60 occasions since 2005.

In the past five years, Suffolk Constabulary has spent a whopping �9,127 after officers damaged police vehicles by using the wrong sort of fuel.

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And this year's 15 incidents looks set to become a five-year high - with clumsy officers only needing a further four fuel cap mishaps to reach the 19 seen three years ago.

In 2006/07 alone, the repair bill for rectifying vehicles damaged by officers reached more than �2,850 - with 19 incidents of drivers taking the high road to wrongful re-fuelling.

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All of these problematic petrol pump incidents of have taken place regardless of the fact that new vehicles purchased by the constabulary are equipped with devices to prevent mis-fuelling.

In 2007/08, 14 officers were left confused at the pumps after either using diesel in petrol vehicles or vice versa - despite all police vehicles' fuel caps displaying discs detailing the car's required fuel.

A spokesperson from Suffolk Constabulary said: “Unfortunately even police officers and staff are prone to making mistakes such as this and it is down to human error.

“Suffolk Constabulary's transport services department do all they can to prevent this from occurring - over the last 36 months coloured discs labelling what fuel each vehicle takes have been fitted over the fuel caps of every vehicle in our fleet.

“The disc has to be moved out of the way before the fuel cap can be removed and the fuel pump nozzle inserted.

“While the discs are not fool proof they are a very low cost preventative measure and have generally been effective in reducing the number of mis-fueling.”

Should officers be made to pay when they blunder at the pumps? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail

The cost of mis-fuelling

Year No. of incidents Repair costs

2005/06 5 �787.10

2006/07 19 �2,857.11

2007/08 14 �2,456.91

2008/09 10 �1,420.30

2009/10 (so far) 15 �1,606.11

TOTAL 63 �9,127.53

Norfolk officers struggle to re-fuel too

Blundering officers who failed to re-fuel their cars properly cost Norfolk Constabulary a mammoth �30,000 over six years.

In 2007/08, the repair bill for rectifying vehicles damaged by the use of the wrong fuel topped �8,000.

During that year there were 33 incidents where either diesel was used in petrol vehicles or vice versa.

Until 2008, there was more than one incident a fortnight on average.

Due to the massive costs of clumsy officers, Norfolk Constabulary introduced a device which bleeps to remind drivers to check the fuel type.

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