POLICE officers have been left "red-faced" after having their fuel cards declined following a technical hitch with the suppliers.

Some Cleveland Police officers have been forced to get attendants to phone up the fuel company to verify their cards after filling up their vehicles.

The mix-up has been put down to a problem with the issuing of new cards and officers have taken the embarrassment in their stride.

Cleveland Police Federation chairman Steve Matthews said: “There has been some confusion with the cards that were issued to some officers and the card’s authorisation wasn’t working correctly.

"This has been an error of the fuel card suppliers, but has left some of our officers with red faces.

“All the officers have taken it with a smile on their faces – it’s just one of those things.

“It must look quite funny to people when members of Cleveland Police are unable to pay for their fuel with their cards.

“We’re not making a big deal out of it. It’s just another thing to happen in a typical day for our officers.”

The mix-up occurred with other forces around the country after the new cards were sent but not all had been authorised on the fuel supplier’s payment system.

The force was quick to point out that the problem was caused by fuel supplier and has now been rectified to ensure officers are able to fill up.

A Cleveland Police spokeswoman said: “We are one of a number of forces temporarily affected due to a technical issue involving the systems of the fuel card supplier.

"The supplier is working with all forces that are affected to put this right as soon as possible.

“Cards are not being refused; the cashier will phone the company and the payment is then subsequently approved and the fuel is supplied.

“This is an external issue and does not involve Cleveland Police or Steria systems.”