POLICE have shelled out almost £250,000 in repairs to vehicles after bumps on the county's roads in one year.

North Yorkshire Police's 499-strong fleet of cars, vans and motorcycles were involved in 476 incidents, including crashes and vandalism, between April 1, 2006, and March 31, 2007.

There has been a drop in the number of times police vehicles were damaged down from 552 last year.

The force spent £115,711 on repairs to its own vehicles, down from £144,513 last year.

But it also paid out £91,914 in damages to third parties whose cars were damaged in smashes with police vehicles - up from £80,818 last year.

They also spent £35,065 in legal costs - up from £5,542.

In the force's central area, which covers York and Selby and has 84 police vehicles, there were 88 incidents. In the eastern area, which has 108 vehicles, there were 186 incidents, while in the western area, which has 97 vehicles, there were 99 incidents. The 210 vehicles based at the police headquarters at Newby Wiske were involved in 103 incidents.

Of the total 476 incidents in the last 12 months, 156 involved only one vehicle, 123 involved two vehicles, seven involved three vehicles and three involved four vehicles.

During that time the police had to repair or replace 37 windscreens.

Vandals were found to have caused criminal damage to 30 police cars and, in a further 102 cases, officers returned to a vehicle to find it had been damaged in their absence.

In a report to the police authority's complaints committee, fleet manager Simon Binks said the force's vehicles covered 9.9 million miles per year.

He said a "motor incident" was defined as any incident which resulted in damage to a police vehicle, regardless of who was to blame or how it was caused.

The Press told last year how Chief Constable Della Cannings, who retires next week, appealed to officers to help drive down the cost of repairs to police vehicles by taking more care on the county's roads.

She said: "We are aware of the financial costs that relate to vehicle damage.

"While I appreciate that things like windscreen repairs are often unavoidable, we do have incidents, which are all fully investigated, that are caused by the manner of the drivers.

The report will be heard by the police authority's complaints committee on May 9.