Taxpayers’ £14k bill after cops put the wrong fuel in vehicles
TV star claims country estate plan would ruin ancient woodland
CARELESS cops who put the wrong fuel into police vehicles have cost North Wales taxpayers nearly £14,000.
Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act shows bungling North Wales Police officers have refuelled vehicles incorrectly on more than 75 occasions since 2009.
The mishaps have led to a whopping bill of £13,962.80 – all of which is public money used for repair work including flushing out the wrong fuel.
Despite the force fitting the majority of its fleet with a bright yellow flap that says “diesel” on the filler cap since 2006, bobbies have continued to make the refuelling error.
A North Wales Police spokesman said: “Although it is unfortunate that any mistakes are made, there are relatively few incidents. In 2014 there were eight such incidents out of a total 34,014 fuel transactions.”
Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, says the public deserve better.
He said: “The authorities simply cannot afford to waste taxpayers’ money on these costly mistakes, particularly at a time when colleagues within the force are facing pay freezes or worse.
“The authorities must pull their socks up, taxpayers deserve better.”
The most recent errors happened within the space of two days – on July 22 and 24 this year – with repair bills totalling £424.
In 2009 there were a total of 18 refuelling errors which cost the taxpayer £4,065.49. The biggest repair bill that year was £1,477 – the largest over the seven year period –while the lowest was £60.
There was a drop in incidents during 2010 with 11 errors leading to a £1,695.97 bill, while in 2011 there were 12 at a total cost of £2,468.78.
In 2012 there were 16 incidents resulting in a £2,355.95 bill, but 2013 saw a drop with nine at a cost of £1,606.53.
ATV star has gone head to head with bosses at a country estate over an ancient area of woodland.
The Bodnant Estate has lodged a planning bid to improve the access route into Coed Tyddyn Iolyn on Ffordd Maenan, Eglwysbach,
The firm says the plans will make it easier for workers to enter the land and carry out maintenance on the woodland and its tracks.
But Salvage Hunters star Drew Pritchard has accused them of trying to open a “logging operation” on the site and says the scheme will “destroy” an ancient woodland if it is given the green light.
Antiques expert Drew, who lives on Ffordd Maenan, said: “This stunning woodland hasn’t been touched, and Bodnant want to turn it into a logging operation.
“What they should be doing is protecting it.
“There are bats in there and badgers, it’s an amazing habitat for wildlife.
“A lot of elderly people live on the road, and I can’t see them being able to deal with big trucks on the narrow lane.”
In the programme Salvage Hunters, one of the most highly rated programmes on the Discovery Channel, cameras follow decorative antiques dealer Drew as he scours the country in search of some weird and wonderful objects.
Drew added: “I’ve written a strongly worded letter of objection, and I hope Conwy’s planning committee will turn the application down.
“If it was given the go ahead I believe it would be an act of vandalism against a historic Welsh wood.”
Six letters of objection have so far been lodged against the application with complaints relating to concerns about flooding, road safety and the adverse affects the scheme could have on local tourism.
In one letter, resident Sam Webber writes: “The proposal is to “alter and improve the existing access to the main road”. I have lived on Ffordd Maenan all my life and never in my lifetime has there been any access to Coed Tyddyn Iolyn at the stated location.”
But Bodnant’s Estate manager Stephen Dixon said the work is needed to protect the wood for the next 100 years.
He added: “This work will not create a blot on the landscape, it will clean up the woodland and protect it for the next 100 years.
“There are many collapsed trees in there that need to be taken away, once they are gone the fauna will grow back.
“It’s a regeneration programme, not a moneymaking one we’ll probably break about even.
“Natural Resources Wales don’t have a problem with the application and I doubt this would be the case if we were setting out to destroy the woodland.
“A wildlife survey is being carried out at present. If we are given planning then over a five year period we’ll probably do the work in five fortnightly stretches, which shouldn’t inconvenience the local residents too much.”