CARELESS police staff have cost the taxpayer nearly £3,000 in repairs after putting the wrong fuel in their vehicles. 

According to figures from a Freedom of Information request, Dorset Police has spent £2,751 repairing their fleet of vehicles after petrol was put in diesel cars and vice versa. 

The money is across 24 incidents from the force’s more than 1,000 fleet, including cars, vans, motorbikes and minibuses, since 2017. 

Conor Holohan, media campaign manager of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: “Taxpayers will be fuming at this careless waste of cash.”

Dorset Echo: Police car in BournemouthPolice car in Bournemouth (Image: Daily Echo)

A spokeswoman for Dorset Police said staff who misfuel vehicles are given “words of advice” to reduce the likelihood of future mishaps. 

She added: “Vehicles are marked with diesel/petrol on the filler cap. Some of the older vehicles have a 'diesel' sticker above the filler. 

“Most vehicles have the fuel grade marked on the inside of the filler cap and since the early 2000s, the design of the fuel filler pipes are such that misfuelling is very difficult.  

“Additional stickers that denote the required fuel type are applied to reduce the likelihood of misfuelling.

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“We undertake repairs internally at various vehicle police workshops (unless additional external repair is required from contractors or dealerships etc.).” 

A spokesman for the National Police Chiefs’ Council said occurrences are “relatively rare” when you factor in how many vehicles are in the fleet. 

He added officers moving from one vehicle to another during shift can increase the probability of mis-fuelling happening. 

An AA spokesman said: “Despite design features to prevent misfuelling on modern vehicles, it can still happen. In fact, the AA attends an average of 45 misfuelled vehicles per day.

“With the distractions of modern life, and so many different types of fuel to choose from, picking up the wrong nozzle is easily done - particularly for those using multiple vehicles.

"We would advise drivers to double-check that they have the right nozzle for their vehicle before pulling the trigger.

"If you realise that you’ve put the wrong fuel in your tank, it’s really important not to start the engine and to call for assistance.

"Driving with the wrong, or contaminated fuel can result in severe fuel system or engine damage – along with a hefty bill.”