Petrol investigation under way

AN investigation is under way today following claims that service stations and supermarkets have sold contaminated petrol to motorists in Suffolk.Trading standards officials have launched the probe after reports that ethanol has been added to petrol distributed to Tesco and Morrisons outlets across the south east.

AN INVESTIGATION is underway today following claims that service stations and supermarkets have sold contaminated petrol to motorists in Suffolk.

Trading standards officials have launched the probe after reports that ethanol has been added to petrol distributed to Tesco and Morrisons outlets across the south east.

This has led to problems with car's petrol sensors - and is believed to have affected scores of drivers.

Ian Hillier, a petroleum spokesman for the Trading Standards Institute, said: “I understand that there have been around 75 to 100 complaints from people in south east England.

“Including ethanol in petrol is not really contaminating it, but there has to be a clear warning to people who buy petrol as to exactly what is in it.

“Ethanol is actually seen as a green measure but if it is sold without any warning then offenders are in breach of biofuel labelling regulations.”

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Independent oil company Greenergy said it was testing fuel supplied to Tesco and Morrisons to see if it was faulty.

Greenergy, which supplies greener fuels, said its extensive tests on the batch of fuel supplied to the supermarkets showed that it met industry standards but it was continuing its investigation.

Tesco said it had done extensive tests on batches of fuel and had not found any link back to the store, but was working urgently to find out what had happened.

In a statement, the store said: ``We have had a number of reports from motorists who claim to be experiencing problems after filling up with fuel at Tesco forecourts and we are aware that customers of other supermarkets have also reported difficulties.

“As soon as we were alerted to a potential problem we carried out extensive tests on current and past batches of unleaded fuel, including from some of the affected vehicles, and so far have not discovered any abnormalities or contamination whatsoever.

“Whilst we cannot currently trace any problem back to Tesco fuel we will of course continue to urgently work with our supplier to identify what might be behind it.”

A spokesman for Morrisons said tests had found its petrol was not contaminated.

“Morrisons suppliers test every batch of unleaded petrol to ensure that it meets British and European standards.

“Having received a limited number of enquiries further tests were carried out.

“These found no contamination and confirmed our unleaded petrol met the required standards.”

Has your car been affected? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

PENSIONER Cynthia Norman is distraught today after her beloved new car stopped working less than a week after she got it.

Mrs Norman, 67, used all her savings to buy the £6,000 Vauxhall Corsa Design last Thursday but just two days later it stopped working, straight after she had filled up the tank with fuel.

Mrs Norman, of Duke Street, Hadleigh, said: “I had just been thinking how pleased I was with the car and that I was happy I had got it.

“Then I went to Ipswich with my daughter and son-in-law and filled the car up at Tesco.

“But it wouldn't start at the pump, right after we'd filled it up.”

The RAC were called but could not find anything wrong and the car is now with a mechanic who is trying to sort the problem.

She added: “I feel absolutely dreadful and haven't been able to sleep at night.

“I've used all my savings to buy this car and I know that if it is a petrol problem it won't be covered under warranty.

“I'm really angry and disappointed. I like to get out-and-about to see people and normally use my car at least once at day. This is awful for me.”

And Peter Collins, of Jervis Close, Holbrook, said he is facing a £300 mechanics bill for repairs to his Renault Laguna, which is not covered by his warranty.

He said: “I should have been covered by the warranty but Renault is saying because its contaminated fuel that has caused the problem, the warranty is invalid.

“After I filled up with petrol I noticed I was losing power. It picked up again when I put my foot right down. I had to drive flat out to keep it running. It's a big problem and I could see someone having a serious accident soon because of it.”

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