Don't panic over petrol

“DON'T panic!” That was the message to motorists today as queues built up at petrol stations across the area.Since weekend reports that hauliers and farmers were planning a repeat of the fuel protests of five years ago, garage forecourts across Britain have seen an increase in business.

“DON'T panic!” That was the message to motorists today as queues built up at petrol stations across the area.

Since weekend reports that hauliers and farmers were planning a repeat of the fuel protests of five years ago, garage forecourts across Britain have seen an increase in business.

In Suffolk, garages and supermarket forecourts have managed to keep up with demand - although the largest chain of garages in the area has introduced a ban on people filling up cans with petrol.

Garages run by the Ipswich and Norwich Co-op Society have introduced the can ban in an attempt to prevent panic buying.

Society secretary Mike Faulkener said: “We have noticed an increase in demand. There have been a few queues but nothing too serious.”

At Asda on Goddard Road in Ipswich the forecourt had sometimes struggled to keep up with demand.

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Steve Dennis, from the superstore, said: “Since the start of the weekend things have been getting very busy and we've had more deliveries than usual.

“But we've still been running low at times and had to close down some of the lines of queuing vehicles.”

The Fuel Lobby is calling on the public to turn up at oil refineries from 6am tomorrow to begin their protests.

Protest leader Andrew Spence said: "We are not calling for a blockade, but if oil companies decide they cannot send out lorries while there is a public presence at their site, then that is a matter for them.”

A motorway go-slow is also planned for the M4 and campaigners have revealed that the port of Dover could be targeted.

The lobby has been sparked by the price of petrol, which has reached £1 a litre on many sites after rising more than 20 per cent in recent months.

However there are no protests planned in this area - and many of the companies who led the protests in 2000 say they know nothing about anything planned this time.

But suggestions of a petrol blockade seem to have brought the same panic that motorists saw in 2000.

There were long queues back on to the sliproad at Tesco at Copdock this morning as drivers filled up on their way to work, and the situation was similar at Tesco, Martlesham.

Staff at Felixstowe Docks Service Area at Anzani House, Trinity Avenue, today said the pumps were far busier than usual and they were starting to run short of fuel.

But at Spencers Garage at Main Road, Martlesham, revealed last week as the most expensive place for petrol in Suffolk, there were no queues at all.

A spokeswoman said: “It's pretty much business as normal and we have not noticed a rush. Diesel is running short but that is not unusual as we are expecting a delivery today.”

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