Police officers and ambulance staff in South Yorkshire have cost the taxpayer over £8,000 – by filling up their vehicles with the wrong fuel.
Staff at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust have used the wrong fuel in the fleet 19 times in the past five years, while officers at South Yorkshire Police have used it on nine occasions.
A request by The Star’s Your Right To Know campaign revealed the blunders have cost £8,111.44 to repair.
South Yorkshire Police shelled out £4,506.40 over the five years, including £2,029.99 in 2012 when four vehicles needed repairing.
The force said the number of vehicles was very small in proportion to the size of its fleet, but that it would continue to look at technology to prevent mis-fuelling.
Head of fleet management at South Yorkshire Police Sarah Gilding said: “The force has a fleet of over 750 vehicles which are driven by hundreds of different officers on a daily basis.
“Nine vehicles being fuelled incorrectly over a five-year period is a very small number in proportion to the size of our fleet.
“However, we recognise that this causes an unnecessary expense to the force and we will continue to look at technology for cost-effective ways we can prevent incorrect fuelling of police vehicles.”
Bosses at Yorkshire Ambulance Service were forced to pay £3,605.04, including £1,398.63 in 2011/12, when five vehicles were damaged with an average repair cost of £279.73.
In 2012/13, devices were fitted to its vehicles which prevented the wrong fuel nozzle being inserted.
A trust spokesman said that, since then, only two vehicles had been mis-fuelled out of its fleet of over 900, costing £470.80 – less than half a per cent of the ambulance service’s fuel bill for the same year.
South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said there had been no instances of its vehicles being mis-fuelled in the last five years.
The AA estimates there are over 150,000 instances of the wrong fuel used in vehicles in the UK every year.