Fuel strike fears hit forecourts

FEARS of a petrol strike were beginning to show on the forecourts of Suffolk today as motorists began queuing at the pumps.

Rebecca Lefort

FEARS of a petrol strike were beginning to show on the forecourts of Suffolk today as motorists began queuing at the pumps.

Attendants at the Shell Heath station in Woodbridge Road today said twice as many motorists had swamped the pumps since yesterday afternoon.

Sandie Catlin, sales assistant, said: “You couldn't see the forecourt at one point. There were dozens of cars.

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“People were asking whether the strike was going to start. I think they were topping up their tanks for the weekend.”

However, she said the station was still receiving deliveries of fuel and there were no fears of running dry unless there was a huge surge in demand over the next few days.

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Meanwhile, both the Esso garage in Combs Ford, Stowmarket, and the Stowupland Service Station in Church Road, Stowupland, said they were also extremely busy.

However, the Tothill garage on the A14 Ipswich-bound carriageway at Stowmarket said it was business as usual.

With petrol and diesel prices on the rise again this week, jittery motorists were becoming more restless - with 500 Shell petrol tank drivers preparing for a four-day walkout.

The Evening Star's weekly fuel survey will reveal on Friday exactly how prices at the pumps stand in Suffolk.

This week so far there have been increases - in Felixstowe, the Co-op owned Esso garage in High Road West has put diesel up three pence per litre (13p per gallon) in the past five days to 131p per litre, and petrol up two pence (9p per gallon) to 117p.

Last-minute talks to avert a fuel strike begin today as 500 Shell petrol tanker drivers prepare for a four-day walkout.

The members of the Unite union are due to strike from 6am on Friday until 6am next Tuesday, in a pay dispute which could hit one in ten filling stations across the UK.

The government has urged drivers not to panic-buy fuel amid fears of petrol shortages.

A Downing Street spokesman said: “We want the public to continue to buy as normal so as to avoid creating problems that might otherwise not exist.”

- Are you driving less miles to save fuel? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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