Heating oil boats at Inverness and Aberdeen

Milford Fisher The Milford Fisher made kerosene deliveries on Monday

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Supplies of domestic heating oil have arrived by boat to Aberdeen and Inverness amid increasing demand because of the cold weather.

The Scottish government said the Milford Fisher deliveries were "vital".

The kerosene amounting, to a total of 1.8 million litres, will be distributed to homes in Aberdeenshire and the Highlands.

Distributor Highland Fuels said demand for heating oil had "gone through the roof".

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said the fuel would reach customers as quickly as possible.

He said: "Heating oil supplies and deliveries were becoming an issue of particular concern and I am pleased that these huge shipments are now arriving in Aberdeen and Inverness.

"Deliveries of vehicle fuels, including red diesel, are also arriving, though these supplies remain in good shape overall."

Mr Lochhead added: "We are working with local authorities to ensure supplies of heating oil reach the most vulnerable as a matter of priority and ScottishPower and Scottish and Southern Energy have also offered to support the distribution of vital fuel supplies.

"We are also in close contact with the livestock sector in order to monitor any welfare issues arising from difficulties associated with distributing animal feed."

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