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Mar 29

Petrol panic-buying begins before planned tanker driver strike

By Ciara Leeming

Petrol stations run low in areas of Cheshire and Manchester as dozens of drivers join queues

Petrol station in Bristol
Signs at a Sainsbury’s petrol station in Bristol tell motorists it has run out of unleaded. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA

As in other parts of the country, panic petrol buying has hit areas of Manchester and Cheshire – particularly those popular with fast-car-loving footballers. Coleen Rooney, wife of Wayne, tweeted: “Petrol stations are packed by ours!! One has already ran out of fuel!!! #fillmeup.”

By 4.45pm, with around 50 vehicles spread across three separate queues, the Tesco Extra at Handforth Dean in Cheshire began to run out of fuel. Mary Wallis, a pensioner from Warrington, readily admitted she was panic-buying. “I’m as bad as the others really. But I thought it wouldn’t hurt,” she said. “I’m off to Abersoch in north Wales over Easter, a two-and-a-half-hour journey. I will need the best part of a tank to get there, so while I’m not empty, I thought I’d fill up now and then leave the car at home until we go. I can use the pensioners’ bus and walk into the village when I’m at home. I know they are scaremongering really, but I’m still doing it just in case.”

Staff said the place had been busy all day after a number of smaller petrol stations nearby had run dry. There were all kinds of vehicles in the queue – a coach, taxis, small runarounds, soft-top BMWs and a Rolls-Royce. As they inched closer to the forecourt, drivers were approached by a member of staff to warn that they might be wasting their time. Four of the pumps were already offline after the tank beneath had emptied and the others were on their way out. The next delivery was due between 12 and 1am, they were informed, so it might be worth returning in the morning.

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