HUNDREDS of pounds of taxpayers’ cash has been spent decorating emergency vehicles for Pride.

West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service has spent £300 on wrapping an engine in a Pride flag covered in love hearts.

It comes after a Twitter backlash against Sussex Police when they unveiled two police cars wrapped in the Pride flag at a cost of £750 to the taxpayer.

The new-look fire engine with “Summer of Love” and “Stay Safe” written on it cost the taxpayer £300.

Another £193 was spent on the entry fee for the parade.

A West Sussex County Council spokeswoman said the money was a small price to pay for getting the fire safety message out.

A spokeswoman said: “Our fire and rescue service is a vital part of the community and keeps every person in that community safe. Taking part in events that recognise and support every section of that community is essential in getting across messages that keep people safe and support them in an emergency.

“The £300 we contributed towards the cost of decorating our appliance is a small price to pay for getting safety messages out to a huge number of people. We were honoured to be invited to join in this weekend’s Pride celebrations in partnership with our neighbouring fire and rescue Services in East Sussex and Hampshire.”

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service also spent £300 wrapping a branded Vauxhall Corsa in a pride flag, plus £193 to take part in the parade.

The South East Coast Ambulance Service (Secamb) Pride ambulance wrap was donated by local firms.

The vehicles will join Sussex Police’s Pride car in the parade.

In June a picture of the rainbow police car tweeted by Inspector Mark Evans sparked anger.

Twitter user Josh Watkins wrote: “I’m gay. This is embarrassing.

“If you can afford to do this, you’re obviously still too bloated and deserve further budget cuts.”

The TaxPayers’ Alliance, which campaigns for an end to wasteful Government spending, criticised the cars.

James Price grassroots campaign manager said: “When the police service needs to be looking for savings and cutting out waste, concerns will rightly be raised as to whether this is really a sensible use of taxpayers’ money.

“Perhaps the police service could have sought financial support from local businesses for this project because there’s nothing wrong with engaging with the community but there are surely plenty of other ways of doing it without spending hundreds of pounds of taxpayers’ cash.”

Sussex Police defended the cars, which also attended festivals in Eastbourne, Hastings and London.