Fuel protests put my care at risk says Ipswich resident

Michael Fulcher

Michael Fulcher is worried that his carers will not be able to get the fuel they need. - Credit: Paul Geater

An Ipswich man fears that the fuel protests which have prevented diesel getting through to garages across East Anglia could put his round-the-clock care at risk.

Michael Fulcher, 35, who lives in Lovetofts Drive, suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and needs care 24/7.

He has a diesel van that has been adapted for his special mobility vehicle and is driven by carers - but he needs to ensure it always has enough fuel in it for an emergency.

And his carers come from a wide area and need to be able to drive themselves to his home to be able to give the constant care he needs.

Mr Fulcher said: "It’s particularly not fair that the protesters are allowed and get away with acting in this manner. It’s shocking because East Anglia seems to be hit the hardest especially - in Ipswich and Norwich and all the local areas too.

"I managed to get some diesel when l visited the Shell garage on Norwich Road in Ipswich last Friday as l needed to fill up my WAV ( wheelchair accessible vehicle) in case I need to go to hospital appointments and get out into the community.

"I had to show my disability parking blue badge before they would sell me some diesel for my van. I must mention that how welcoming and helpful the ladies who work at that Shell garage were - very supportive and understanding."

Protesters in south Essex

Protests have disrupted distribution from fuel depots in south Essex. - Credit: PA

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But his real concern was about his carers' ability to get fuel to drive themselves to and from his home.

He said: "My staff look after me and care for me in my own home. Some of them have already noticed that the price of fuel is getting ridiculous and out of control.

"They have also noticed that it's becoming extremely difficult and expensive to find fuel in most garages - especially diesel.

"A few of my nurses and support workers live in surrounding areas such as Norwich, Harwich, Bury St Edmunds. 

"One evening I spent more than an hour searching for local fuel stations on Google looking for a garage that actually had some diesel left for my staff."

Meanwhile Essex Police has secured the first conviction in the country in connection with disruption being caused at fuel sites.

Catherine Maclean had been charged with aggravated trespass after an incident in Thurrock on Wednesday 13 April. 

The 64-year-old, of Hurstpierpoint, Hassocks, in West Sussex, admitted the charge at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on Saturday 17 April. 

She was ordered to pay a total of £409, including a £270 fine, £105 in court costs and a £34 victim surcharge.

Essex Police have now arrested 461 people in connection with obstruction at fuel depots in the south of the county since April 1. So far 23 have been charged and are due to appear in court.