Page last updated at 12:17 GMT, Friday, 31 October 2008

Wrong fuel mistakes stall police

A North Wales Police vehicle
Force vehicles have been fitted with a diesel cap

Police officers put vehicles out of action 26 times in the space of a year by filling them with petrol instead of diesel, a force has admitted.

North Wales Police say officers made the mistake even though the majority of its new vehicles have bright yellow filler caps marked "diesel".

Repairing the vehicles cost the tax payer more than 2,700

The figures, released under the Freedom of Information Act, cover the period from April 2007 to March 2008.

North Wales Police says that the bright yellow "diesel" cap has been fitted to most vehicles for the last two years.

To insert the fuel nozzle, the flap must be physically moved which should bring the required fuel type to the driver's attention.

The force claims it has been an "effective mis-fuelling device."

'Easily fade'

The RAC said in the last decade it has recorded a 385% increase in the number of call-outs to drivers filling up with the wrong fuel.

Tim Shalcross, head of policy for the Institute of Advanced Motorists in Wales said "mis-fuelling" is a problem that is on the increase.

"It's because more and more people are driving diesel cars, and more and more people are renting cars," he said.

"The problem with any device to stop it is that they easily fade into the background - you get used to it and start thinking of something else."

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