Police have been forced to scrap part of their fleet of vans ahead of schedule because the bodywork is deteriorating. The Police Transport Bureau has ordered 175 new vans at a cost of $36.5 million from Ford UK, which are scheduled to go on the road next month. Senior Superintendent (Transport) Ron Davies said the Ford Transits would replace part of the fleet of Leylands which made up half the force's 600 vans. 'The engines themselves have lasted very well with little problems, but the bodywork, even after toughening, has rusted beyond repair in many vans,' Mr Davies said. 'So we have decided to put them in an early replacement programme.' Mr Davies said although many of the problem vans had served their seven-year lifespan, some newer vans were also deteriorating. The petrol-engined vans are part of an order of 250 by the Government Land Transport Agency. Other departments such as Water Supplies and Electrical and Mechanical Services may receive several of the new vans. Mr Davies said the new vans should serve the force for about six years. The Leylands were also ordered by the agency after tender. 'At the time, they were a good vehicle but they have not met the lifetime expected of them,' he said. 'They will most likely be auctioned for scrap as I think with the maintenance problems we have been having with them, we cannot sell them to anyone else.' Legislative Council transport panel member Albert Chan Wai-yip questioned maintenance of the vans. 'Although Hong Kong is very humid I don't think the body of a car should deteriorate so much in seven years, I think maintenance procedures should be reviewed,' Mr Chan said. 'If these vehicles were simply inferior they should have known this before buying.' Acting Assistant Director (General Services Management) Electrical and Mechanical Services Department Yuen Siu-sing maintained the territory's weather and heavy use of police vans were behind the problems. 'The vehicles are subject to rigorous maintenance and corrosion prevention but rust is inevitable in our climate,' Mr Yuen said.