POLICE have put the wrong kind of fuel into their vehicles 21 times over the past three years, new figures show.

The figures, obtained by the Oxford Mail through a Freedom of Information request, show that over the past three years, Thames Valley Police has spent £1,413.16 on labour and parts after misfuelling.

Thames Valley Police has a fleet of 1,258 vehicles with 140 of those in Oxfordshire.

The force says fitting devices to stop the mistakes would cost more than £7,000. Thames Valley Police’s fleet operations manager Dave McDonald said: “To have fitted these vehicles with a device would have cost the force £50 per vehicle, a total of over £7,000 for the fleet, which was not cost effective.

“We did trial wrong-fuel prevention devices but none were wholly successful.

“Some caused fuel to splash back on to the officer. Others suffered mechanical failure. To limit wrong fuelling incidents we ensure the fuel type is prominently displayed on the front cover of the log book and on the vehicle in the vicinity of the fuel filler cap.

“This has resulted in incidents declining from 10 in 2010 to just two this year.”

The worst year was 2010 with blunders happening 10 times, costing £567.62 to repair.

A total of £195.84 was spent in 2011 and £473.82 in 2012. So far this year, the police say the bill is only £56.62.

The costliest error was in 2012, when an officer in Kidlington put the wrong fuel in a Vauxhall Corsa. It cost £100 for labour and £26.91 for parts.

Officers in Cowley made six errors while those in Banbury made four.

On October 24, 2011, two cars had petrol put in them instead of diesel in Oxford and Abingdon. Repair costs were £150.