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LANCASHIRE Police spent more than £2million on unmarked police cars over the last three years, including expensive cars for senior officers, it can be revealed.

The force spent the second highest amount in the country, behind only West Midlands Police, figures released under the Freedom of Information Act show.

It has led to calls from the Taxpayers’ Alliance to axe the expensive run-arounds, which it says are for police chiefs and not catching criminals.

More than £600,000 was spent on 76 Vauxhall Corsas between April 2010 and March last year.

But single purchases of luxury cars were also made, including a Mercedes E Class, a BMW X5, and an Audi A6, all of which cost more than £30,000 each.

The Audi A6, which cost £36,538, has a V6 engine and a top speed of 130mph, and can travel for just 28 miles per gallon of fuel.

Other vehicles driven by officers and Lancashire Pol- ice employees included an Audi A3, A4, and A6, and a BMW 1 and a BMW K superbike.

The figures came just weeks after Police and Cr-ime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw asked East Lanc-ashire residents to consider a rise in council tax in a bid to tackle crime.

Crime detection rates in East Lancashire fell last year, with almost two-thirds of crimes reported to police going unsolved, figures showed.

Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said the money spent on the cars could have been spent elsewhere.

He said: “The police bud-get should be spent fighting crime, not on performance cars used for nothing more than ferrying police chiefs around.

“Forces need suitable veh-icles for undercover work, but that’s not a reason to buy them for those spen-ding their life behind a desk.Axing flash run-arounds for police chiefs is a simple way to save taxpayers' mon-ey, while protecting front line policing.”

A spokeswoman for Lanc-ashire Police said: “Unm-arked vehicles are used by various departments, incl-uding major crime, CID and road policing.

“The vehicles also include pool cars, and chief officer cars, in addition to those used for covert enforcem-ent and surveillance.”