A Liverpool supporter looks at the names engraved on the Hillsborough memorial outside the club's Anfield stadium (Reuters)
A Liverpool supporter looks at the names engraved on the Hillsborough memorial outside the club's Anfield stadium (Reuters)

The police force responsible for the cover-up of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster also kept money it had found among the dead and injured in the wake of the tragedy.

It has been revealed that South Yorkshire Police (SYP) recovered £14.53 from the victims of the disaster in which 96 Liverpool fans were killed and paid it into the force's finance department, according to documents released by the Hillsborough Independent Panel.

Although the amount taken is relatively small, families of the victims and campaigners have noticed the "sad irony" that the force who accused "drunken" Liverpool fans of robbing from the dead did not donate the money to the fund set up to help victims of the tragedy.

Sheila Coleman, from the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, said: "Although we're only talking about a small amount of money, the amount is irrelevant, it's the principle.

"The fans were blamed for stealing from the dead and there is a sad irony in the fact that so many years later it's come to light that the money was misappropriated by South Yorkshire Police.

"South Yorkshire Police may argue they were following standard procedure but, given the fact there was a disaster fund set up so quickly after, ethically and morally the thing to do was to give that money to the disaster fund, not put it into the police bank account."

Margaret Aspinall, chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, whose 18-year-old son was one of those who died in the disaster, added: "This is an absolute disgrace and very ironic, when they were accusing the fans of robbing the dead. I just find that rather appalling."

The documents from the HIP reveal that police recovered the money and placed it with the rest of the possessions in which the owners were not known. SYP said the money was then banked "in accordance with the policy operating at that time".

A spokesperson for SYP added: "Effectively, any unclaimed monies should have been placed into the Police Property Act Fund maintained by the then Police Authority which would then have been available for payment towards such charitable purposes as the Authority might determine.

"South Yorkshire Police are unable to comment on how these particular monies may have been dealt with, as financial records from that time do not exist. Such prime financial documents are required by law to be retained for six years, which has been surpassed in this instance.

Whilst there is no reason whatsoever to believe that the proper processes were not followed in this instance, any further investigation of the circumstances in which this sum was recovered and applied would fall to be addressed, if at all, by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) as part of its ongoing investigation."

It has previously been revelaed that SYP considered sending a bill to Sheffield Wednesday for the service they provided on the day of the Hillsborough Disaster.