UPDATE: Drivers take Francis Maude up on jerry can advice

JPCT-10-02-12 Francis Maude S12070180a -photo by Steve Cobb
JPCT-10-02-12 Francis Maude S12070180a -photo by Steve Cobb

RESIDENTS in the Horsham district are panic buying petrol and The County Times has reports of at least one motorist filling up a jerry can.

Horsham MP Francis Maude yesterday (Wednesday) caused uproar when he suggested that to store a jerry can of petrol in the garage would be a ‘sensible precaution’ to the possible fuel strike - advice he has today retracted.

Reporter Nikki Cutler has been out on the forecourts this morning where motorists are stocking up ‘because everyone else is’.

She said they seem to be panic buying without realising they are. One told her: “I wasn’t planning to stock up but as I saw the queue I didn’t want to lose out.”

She watched as one motorist put a jerry can into his boot.

Storing fuel in jerry cans can be illegal and the Fire Brigades Union yesterday warned motorists about doing so. Click here to see the FBU’s advice.

A fuel strike has not yet been confirmed and the Government is advising that people do not have to change their fuel-buying habits.

This morning the Tesco Express garage in Roffey had run out of all fuel and the BP garage in Five Oaks had run out of Diesel.

Chris Dobbe, Corporate Manager at the Texaco garage in Southwater, said that they had experienced trebled sales of petrol in the last few days.

He said: “We had over a thousand customers yesterday and it is likely to be more today. Normally we have between three and four hundred.”

Sean Byrne, 61, of Swindon Road, Horsham, said he thinks the panic buying is Francis Maude’s fault.

He said: “The guy should not be in charge. He shouldn’t be our MP any more. I actually think he should be prosecuted because what he’s telling people to do is illegal.

“I know he apologised today but it’s too late, that damage is done.”

Sitting in her car in the queue for the Tesco superstore garage, Broadbridge Heath, Deborah Lane, 40, of Halls Drive in Faygate, said that she would be topping up her car to the top to ensure she doesn’t have to wait in a queue again.

“I don’t understand why everyone is stocking up. I just thought I better get mine now because I don’t want to have to wait again.”

Waiting in the same queue, Mathew Anstee-Brown, 30, of Barnes Wallis Avenue in Christ’s Hospital, said that he was surprised to see the garage so crowded.

He said: “It is really busy, especially for a week day. I’m just filling up as usual but I think it’s so busy because of everything in the press.”

Waiting in a queue at the Shell garage on the Broadbridge Heath roundabout, Mick Nauesey, 39, from Lincolnshire, said that the prices of petrol are much higher in the North.

He said: “My local is 1.46 for petrol so if you think you’re hard done by down here, think again.”

A Tesco spokeswoman has said: “Customers are putting more fuel in their cars and we are experiencing an increase in sales in some areas, but customers can be reassured that the fuel supply chain is working hard to meet increased demand.”

What do you think of Mr Maude’s comments? Are you having problems getting petrol or diesel? Leave your comments here or contact us at the County Times 01403 751206.

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