NEWS
29/03/2012 09:07 BST

Petrol Strike: Dorset Police Tell Stations To Shut Amid Panic Buying

Dorset Police have asked all petrol stations in the county to shut due to the "irresponsible" actions of motorists panic buying fuel amid fears of strikes.

In a statement given on Thursday afternoon, the force said it was advising members of the public not to panic buy fuel following reports of traffic congestion at petrol stations around the county.

Chief Inspector Nick Maton said: "There is no disruption to the fuel supply in the UK and members of the public should not panic buy.

“The actions of some motorists in queuing irresponsibly at petrol stations is causing danger to other road users.

“Police are taking action, requesting petrol stations to close temporarily in order to keep traffic flowing.

He added: “Once the queues have dispersed, the petrol stations may re-open for short periods.”

Sales of petrol and diesel increased dramatically yesterday as motorists flocked to garages to fill up following controversial advice from the government ahead of a possible strike by fuel tanker drivers.

Petrol sales shot up by 81% and diesel by 43%, according to the Petrol Retailers Association, which represents around 5,500 garages across the UK.

A spokesman blamed advice from the government on keeping tanks topped up, including the much-criticised call by Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude to fill up jerry cans.

"This is exactly what we didn't want - people panic buying. Deliveries are still being made to garages and we are advising people to continue with their normal buying habits."

While Jon Hall, chief fire officer for both Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service and Gloucestershire Trading Standards, said filling cans with petrol was extremely dangerous and presented a major hazard to firefighters.

"I am really concerned about the prospect of householders stockpiling petrol at home in anticipation of a possible tanker drivers' strike," he said.