TEMPERS have flared on forecourts across North Devon as empty pumps and lengthy queues began to get the better of frustrated motorists this week. As the effects of the latest round of fuel strikes began to filter into the region over the weekend, petrol a

TEMPERS have flared on forecourts across North Devon as empty pumps and lengthy queues began to get the better of frustrated motorists this week.As the effects of the latest round of fuel strikes began to filter into the region over the weekend, petrol and diesel was still in short supply yesterday (Tuesday) as some garages ran dry, while others stacked up with motorists, anxious to fill up.In Bideford on Monday, police were called to sort out traffic jams outside Morrisons where drivers faced a 45-minute wait to fill up.Meanwhile in Clovelly Road, Tim Blight of Bideford-based Blight's Motors told the Gazette that some customers had almost come to blows in arguments on the forecourt after getting impatient and worried that supplies would run out.He said: "We have also had abuse. Some people are blaming us," he said.Panic buying had started last Tuesday with demand at unprecedented levels since then, he added.An ordered delivery on Sunday had not arrived and when the Gazette went to press yesterday. Mr Blight was still unsure when their next delivery would arrive."The Government has said there were contingency plans, but we would like to see them," said Mr Blight, who said his garage had been receiving hundreds of calls, everyone asking if they had fuel, he said. "We have been endeavouring to help the emergency services where we can, off our own backs, but have been given no guidance."In Barnstaple on Monday, Taw Services was one of the lucky few garages to receive a visit from a fuel tanker. The garage - out of diesel since Friday afternoon - was refuelled by a tanker from Plymouth at around 1pm. Across town, the BP garage at Roundswell was empty, while nearby Sainsbury's had run out of fuel early on Sunday afternoon. On Monday, a spokesperson at the Roundswell store told the Gazette they had been expecting a delivery every night."We're playing it by ear at the moment and hoping for a delivery soon," she said. "Because we're furthest away, it looks pretty dire."In Ilfracombe, Hele Bay Garage also ran out of petrol and diesel on Monday afternoon. They are supplied by BWOC and were hoping for another delivery yesterday but had not had any guarantees.Combe Martin Services had run out of unleaded and diesel was getting short on Monday. However, they had been assured by BWOC of a delivery that evening after the strike ended and expected it to be business as usual by today (Wednesday).There are fears that further strike action by Shell tanker drivers at the end of the week could have a serious knock-on effect in North Devon, particularly for those living in more rural areas.Caroline Gray, from Buckland Brewer said she spent an hour queuing for unleaded petrol in Bideford on Monday morning. "I couldn't get to work without it," she said. "Where I live there is no public transport. We have one bus a day that goes at ridiculous times. Without the car, I'm lost" Devon and Cornwall Police said that extra police patrols formed part of a contingency plan to deal with any public disorder that occurs as a result of any potential fuel shortages over the next few days. A Force spokesperson also said that police had stocks of fuel for its own vehicles which will last months.