Sheffield & South Yorkshire

£8,000 repair bill for South Yorkshire 999 fuel blunders

Police officers and ambulance staff have run up an £8,111 repair bill by filling emergency vehicles with the wrong fuel in the past four years.

South Yorkshire Police officers filled up with the incorrect fuel on nine occasions and Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust staff 19 times.

The ambulance service said devices to prevent mistakes had been fitted in 2013, cutting errors by 66%.

The police force is looking at ways to cut the "unnecessary expense".

Details of the repair bills were uncovered by the Sheffield Star under the Freedom of Information Act.

'Expensive error'

Ambulance bosses spent £3,605 repairing 19 vehicles from its 900-strong fleet between April 2010 and March 2014.

A spokeswoman said "fuel angels" had been fitted to vehicles to stop the wrong nozzle being inserted.

"As a result, the number of instances of an incorrect fuel type being used reduced by 66%, to only two occurrences in the 2013/14 financial year," she said.

South Yorkshire Police, which has a fleet of more than 750 vehicles, spent £4,506 during the same period.

Sarah Gilding, head of fleet management, said that while nine vehicles being affected was a "very small number in proportion to the size of our fleet", the force was looking at ways to "prevent incorrect fuelling of police vehicles".

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said it had no record of any vehicles being damaged by being wrongly fuelled.

Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "Damage caused by refuelling mistakes is a waste of taxpayers' cash and it also means fewer patrol cars are available when they are being fixed.

"Simple measures, such as reminders on fuel caps, should ensure officers do not make this simple but expensive error.

"Perhaps making repeat offenders responsible for the costs would see more care being taken."

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