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Queues at Midlands pumps as drivers panic buy fuel

Staffordshire | News | Published:

[gallery] Queues today formed at filling stations across the Midlands as panic-buying motorists left many pumps running dry.

Queues today formed at filling stations across the Midlands as panic-buying motorists left many pumps running dry.

Sparked by threats of strike action by tanker drivers, motorists started queuing from the early hours of today to stockpile fuel.

Click on the image to the right for more pictures

It comes after government minister Francis Maude fanned the flames of the crisis by urging people to fill up a jerry can to keep at home.

Filling station bosses across the region said they had seen a sudden boom in business in the past 24 hours, following a national trend reported by the Retail Motor Industry Federation. According to their figures today, sales of petrol shot up 45 per cent on Tuesday, while diesel was up 20 per cent.

Sri Selliah, aged 42, manager of the Chase Murco Service Station on Cannock Road in Hednesford, said sales had all but doubled in the past day.

"Yesterday there was a lot of panic buying. Obviously people panic buy as they think petrol will run out," he said.

"I think we probably had double the number of sales yesterday as we would normally."

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Staff at Ablewell Service Station, in Ablewell Street, Walsall, said they too had seen an increase in customers last night and this morning.

Worker Sundar Manickam, said: "Instead of just putting in £20 people are putting in bigger amounts of fuel."

Heath Service Station in Lichfield Road, Shelfield, faced long lines of motorists desperate to get their hands on petrol today.

Bosses said they were able to cope with the demand with enough diesel for three days and petrol for at least another day.

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Owner Vic Gajjar said: "There have been queues since 6am this morning, it has been non-stop. Everybody is filling up £40 or 50 at a time. It seems people are panic buying."

Rav Singh, manager at Blakenhall Service Station in Dudley Road, Wolverhampton, said they had been much busier over the past two days.

"A lot of the local garages are starting to run out now – some have sold out completely," he said. "People do seem to be panic buying. People are filling up their tanks instead of just topping up." And staff member Kamala Than, from the Royal Oak Filling Station in Blackhalve Lane, near Essington, said he was currently awaiting a delivery of fuel – and was keeping his fingers crossed it arrived on time today.

"If I don't get that through, my current stock will only last one or two days longer," he said. "Cars have been queuing at the pumps to fill up, it has been really busy."

Motorists were queuing at Morrisons in Kingswinford this morning to fill up. Cars were backed up to the entrance off Stallings Lane. More than double the usual number of drivers have flocked to Withymoor Service Station in Withymoor Road, Netherton, over the last day.

Owner Derek Weston said: "We've definitely seen a lot more come and fill up than we usually would. But we have been able to cope and there haven't been any problems.

"I think people are panicking because of what the Government has been saying but we are not too concerned here as I don't think the suppliers we use would go on strike anyway."

By Charlotte Cross

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