Petrol causes misery for motorists

MOTORISTS who claim to have bought contaminated fuel from supermarket forecourts in Suffolk have pledged to fight for compensation.Scientists are today expected to reveal their findings of tests on petrol that is suspected to have become contaminated and distributed across the country, mainly hitting the South East.

MOTORISTS who claim to have bought contaminated fuel from supermarket forecourts in Suffolk have pledged to fight for compensation.

Scientists are today expected to reveal their findings of tests on petrol that is suspected to have become contaminated and distributed across the country, mainly hitting the South East.

Trading standards officers in Suffolk and Essex have received more than 200 complaints, although it is thought many more cases may have yet to be reported.

Garages in the region reported a surge in reports of vehicles with the same fault yesterday as the full scale of the issue emerged.


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Most of the affected cars have damaged sensors, which are used to regulate emissions.

Last night, supermarket giant Tesco said it was carrying out further tests on its petrol and would act quickly if there was found to be a problem. Morrisons said its own investigations were continuing.

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Brian Barker, owner of Kesgrave Cars, in Main Road, Kesgrave, said nine cars with the problem had been brought in over recent days - most of which had petrol from Tesco at Martlesham, near Ipswich.

And Allan Garrard, 55, manager of the Dove garage, in Milton Street, Ipswich, said: “We've never had as many cars come in within a week all with the same problem.”

Many of these had petrol from Sproughton Road, Ipswich and Tesco stores in Martlesham and Copdock, he said.

In a statement issued last night, Tesco said: “We are continuing to conduct a range of tests using independent laboratories to establish what might be causing the mechanical problems experienced by some customers in the South East of England. So far we have not found any reason for these problems.

“However, following advice from industry experts, we have now started testing for silicone and other possible contaminants. We are also checking the levels at which any contaminant would start to cause engine problems.

“We hope to have results back soon and will of course share these with the other supermarkets and petrol retailers who are affected.

“In the meantime, we have set up a customer hotline for any Tesco customers who have experienced a problem. This Freephone number is 0800 028 6428.”

CASE STUDIES

Ronald Fisher, of Bader Court, Martlesham Heath, near Ipswich, filled up at Tesco in Martlesham and wants compensation.

He said: “There's no reason why I should be out of pocket and I hope to cover the cost. You expect your petrol to be reliable.”

Patricia Sample, 68, of Newbourne, near Felixstowe, also suffered problems after visiting the forecourt and has written a letter of complaint to Tesco.

Vauxhall Astra driver Edward McKenzie, from Grundisburgh, near Woodbridge, had the same problem after visiting the station and wants Tesco to pay up.

He said: “I phoned them and they told me they were looking into it but couldn't offer me any compensation.

“I told them they can either pay for me to drive around in a hire car until all of this is sorted or I'll continue to drive my car and if the situation gets worse then they are liable.

“I just think it's worth people knowing that this is the sort of ultimatum they should be giving Tesco.”

Don Cox, of Defoe Road, Ipswich, said his car started “kangaroo jumping” after filling up at Tesco at Copdock, near Ipswich.

He is now facing a £197 bill to replace his sensors and wants compensation.

Amanda Bell, 31, of Reeds Way, Stowupland, had problems with her Mitsubishi Charisma after buying petrol from Tesco in Stowmarket.

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