In the fight against crime it may have its limits, but in the battle against climate change it is being hailed as Strathclyde Police's secret weapon.

The Vetrix electric Maxi Scooter has been bought by Scotland's largest force to boost its green credentials. Instead of filling it up with petrol, the scooter is refuelled simply by plugging it into an ordinary 13-amp socket. Strathclyde is the first force in the UK to add such a vehicle to its fleet.

Police hope the £6000 scooter, designed in America, will pay for itself in terms of cutting fuel costs. But there is a drawback - the scooter can travel only for 68 miles after a two-hour charge, leaving it unsuitable for everyday operational duties.

It is being trialled at Glasgow Airport, where the confined area and flat terrain can be easily handled and plug sockets are within easy reach.

Richard Flint, head of transport at Strathclyde Police, said: "It is the first step on the ladder in terms of tackling climate change.

"This is not a pursuit vehicle, but we hope as the technology gets better and cars get better we can introduce electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles."

The Maxi Scooter can go from 0-50mph in eight seconds and has a top speed of 62mph.

For Sergeant Kenny Brown, who drives the scooter around the airport, there is little difference between the electric scooters and the petrol versions he normally works with.

He said: "It is very manoeuvrable and the acceleration is very, very quick. There is a lot of stability to this thing and refuelling is of course very easy. You just plug her in and away she goes."