Panic petrol buying leaves some forecourts dry
Long queues reported around the region as motorists stock up amid looming strikes.
PETROL stations in North Devon are running dry after days of panic buying at the pumps ahead of a potential tanker drivers’ strike.
Traffic queues were thought to be around half a mile long at some stations after panic-buying began when Government minister Francis Maude advised drivers to stock up with strikes looming.
In Bideford, the Esso garage in Kingsley Road has completely run out of fuel, while the adjacent Morrison’s has run out of unleaded but still has diesel available.
Frustrations at the store were reported to have reached boiling point yesterday as some motorists criticised others stockpiling fuel in jerry cans.
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A store source said another delivery was expected this afternoon.
Large queues have been reported at the BP filling station on Clovelly Road but the station said it “should be ok for petrol and diesel for the foreseeable future”.
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In Barnstaple this morning (Friday) motorists have formed long lines at forecourts, with heavy traffic around the Tesco at Seven Brethren, and Sainsbury’s at Roundswell.
Sainsbury’s store manager Stuart Kinghorn said his petrol station had received a delivery overnight and that queues were currently stretching back to the industrial estate.
He said: “It’s very busy and you’re going to wait a long time if you come here but we’ve currently got everything except super unleaded.
“We do have slots for further deliveries still imminent although these are of course now subject to change because of the situation around the country.”
Tesco said it had reported seeing an exceptionally high demand for fuel but was unable to comment further.
The BP garage at Roundswell has run out of unleaded petrol but cashier Wendy Reed Do Couto said the station still had ‘plenty’ of diesel for the time being.
She said she didn’t know when the next delivery was due: “Because there are so many garages running dry it’s messed up all the delivery systems,” she said.
“The thing is, it’s all so unnecessary really.”
Geoff Aston, owner of Ilfracombe Service Station in the High Street, said that just after 12 noon today they were down to 5,000 litres of petrol and 1,000 of diesel, but were expecting a delivery this afternoon.
He said there had been a steady queue this morning stretching up to the High Street traffic lights.
“It has sucked us virtually dry in the last few days – on Thursday we sold six times what we would on a normal day,” he said.
The garage received a delivery on Monday and had 72,000 litres of fuel in its tanks. The next load after today is expected on Tuesday.
The shop at Hele Bay Garage in Ilfracombe is open as normal, but the pumps are closed until a scheduled delivery arrives today.
In Torrington, the Barley Grove Service Station in New Road ran out of diesel earlier today but is fully stocked with all fuels following a delivery this morning.
Cashier Sam Wheeler said: “We’re all filled up and should be OK for today and some of tomorrow. We don’t know when the next delivery will be.”
At lunchtime today, union officials ruled out a tanker strike this side of Easter. Police have advised people to stay calm and continue normal buying patterns.
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