30/03/2012 14:09 BST | Updated 30/05/2012 06:12 BST

Petrol Panic: AA Warns Against 'Stupid And Dangerous' Actions

The AA has warned of "stupid and very dangerous" actions being taken by panicked drivers.

In a statement, the motoring organisation said that in Macclesfield, Cheshire, one observer had seen an elderly woman using a petrol pump to fill jam jars.

"A lady about 75 was seen filling up 20 empty one-gallon paint tins with plastic lids and also a tray of jam jars in her boot with petrol. She had her boot up so the petrol station staff couldn't see what she was doing.

"AA staff went over to her to stop her. Then station staff came out and prevented her from what she was doing. Her excuse was that 'her husband did it every week'," the organisation said.

Another man was seen at the same petrol station filling one gallon washing-up liquid bottles with fuel.

AA president Edmund King said: "Some people seem to have lost any sense of proportion. Petrol is a volatile liquid with highly inflammable vapours. Drivers should not be filling up any containers with petrol or we will see more tragic accidents.

"Now that there is no threat of strike over the Easter weekend we hope that things will get back to normal. There is no need for drivers to continue topping up their tanks as this puts too much pressure on the supply chain. Essential drivers have struggled to get fuel as many drivers with second or third cars have followed Government advice and

topped up their tanks unnecessarily.

"Yesterday the AA experienced a 50% increase in call-outs to members running out of fuel. It can be very dangerous to run out of fuel on a motorway or indeed rural road but many drivers were stranded due to shortages.

"We plead with drivers who really don't need to fill up to stay away from the pumps. The AA also stresses that drivers do not and should not hoard extra supplies of fuel in jerry cans or other containers. Hoarding fuel is dangerous and is not required.

"Let us hope for a weekend of calm after a quite barmy storm."

The London Fire Brigade has also warned motorists that they risk breaking the law if they use jerry cans which are too large.

The law states that people should only store petrol in metal containers of a maximum of 10 litres or plastic containers of a maximum of five litres and people should have no more than two of each.

By law, all containers that are storing petrol must be designed for the purpose and they must be marked "petroleum" and "highly flammable".

Ron Dobson, commissioner of the London Fire Brigade, said: "The maximum limit on petrol storage is there to protect the public and it is important that people know how much they are legally allowed to keep."