Fuel strike threat: Petrol stations run dry

Petrol stations in Dorset were asked to close if queuing cars caused traffic hazards as a rise in demand for fuel was seen in parts of England.

Dorset police had asked drivers not to panic buy and said some queues were causing danger to other road users.

Around England there were long queues as some pumps ran dry and there were claims that the town of Bideford in Devon had "sold out" of petrol.

It follows a strike threat by petrol tanker drivers. No date has been set.

Seven days' notice would be given ahead of any strike.

'Barking and bonkers'

Tim Jones, of the Devon and Cornwall Business Council, said Bideford had "sold out" of petrol.

"It's completely barking and bonkers," he said.

Image caption Unite has said it wants ministers to engage with it to prevent the strike

However, one retailer in the town, Blights Motors, said it still had fuel.

In Ilkley in Yorkshire a motorist was asked to leave the forecourt of one of the town's two petrol stations after he snatched the pump out of the hand of a female driver, an eyewitness said.

The other petrol station had run dry.

In Hull, cars were reported to be queuing about seven-deep at an Asda petrol station and at a garage on the A19 near Shipton petrol was being rationed to a £45 limit on sales.

'Everyone filling up'

Oliver Plaskitt, the owner of North Road Garage, said people queued with jerry cans as well as vehicles.

He said: "People are buying fuel as if they will never see it again. Problems are being caused by everyone filling up."

Sporadic queues were reported at petrol stations across London, at locations including Hackney, Vauxhall and the centre of the city.

Aerial pictures showed cars backing on to the A3 slip road as they queued at Tesco in New Malden.

Hemendra Dhakarey, team leader at the Texaco garage on the Leatherhead bypass in Surrey, said he had run out of diesel and several garages in the area were forced to close after running out of fuel.

Customers had been coming into the garage to check delivery times in advance, he added.

Queues were also seen at the Tesco filling station in Brockworth, Gloucester.

Duminda Weerathna, who was working at a Murco filling station in Bristol, said: "We normally sell £9,000 of fuel per day but yesterday we sold £22,000 and today it's likely to be more."

Sathi Seelam, manager of the Shell garage, in Thanet Way, Faversham, Kent, said he had been forced to close at 14:00 BST because of the rush to the pumps. He had no confirmation of when supplies would be replenished.

In Norwich queuing caused tailbacks on the A140 Sweet Briar Road where two garages are based.

In Liverpool petrol stations were said to be busier than usual.

In Hampshire the M27 services at Rownhams ran out of fuel.

Most petrol stations contacted by the BBC in Nottinghamshire reported being busier than normal, but said they had enough fuel to cope.

There was a mixed picture in the North East with some reporting a busy morning with queues but others unaffected.

In Greater Manchester, 20 cars were queuing out on to the road at Gorton Tesco filling station on the A57 Hyde Road during the afternoon.

'Really angry'

Queues had also formed at Sainsbury's in Canley, Coventry.

Some 90% of UK forecourts are supplied by about 2,000 tanker drivers in the Unite union, which is threatening the strike over their working conditions and pay.

Image caption People were filling up petrol cans as well as their vehicles

Energy Minister Ed Davey clarified advice after government calls to "top up" tanks were blamed for some panic-buying at petrol stations.

"We don't think people need to change their behaviour very significantly at the moment," Mr Davey said.

"I think our major advice is that people just need to do the sensible thing if they're going into the petrol station, they should get a full tank of petrol, not a half-tank of petrol, and they should top up where necessary."

Businesses affected have criticised the panic buying.

Jennie Langridge, who runs a cake delivery business in Bournemouth, said: "I'm just really angry.

"I've just been to the petrol station this morning as our tank is almost at empty to find queues and messages saying they have run out and are waiting for fuel supplies."

Farmer and businessman Richard Haddock, from Brixham, Devon, who led fuel protests in the county 12 years ago, said he could not believe" the panic buying.

"No strike [date] had been announced, and I don't understand why people are blocking fuel stations and making other people suffer," he added.

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