Panic buyers bringing queues to Northampton's petrol stations for a fourth day

Fire chief warns "stockpiling fuel is causing the issue - and it's dangerous"

Monday, 27th September 2021, 12:34 pm
This was the queue to get into Sainsbury's petrol station at lunchtime on Monday

Northamptonshire's firefighters are warning of the dangers posed by stockpiling fuel as panic buying continued for a fourth day across the county.

Drivers were spotted filling up cans at garages across the county over the weekend as many pumps ran dry to high demand.

And there were huge queues again at all major filling stations across Northampton on Monday (September 27)with thousands ignoring pleas to buy responsibly.

One garage in St James' is limiting drivers to £30 of fuel at a time

Many pumps were closed while some garages had limits on how much petrol and diesel could be bought in one visit.

One nurse told this newspaper how some of her colleagues had been left in tears at not being able to get enough fuel to carry on vital work visiting patients at home.

And now the county's fire service has joined the plea for people not to join the queues at forecourts.

Chief Fire Officer Darren Dovey is also chairman of the Northamptonshire Local Resilience Forum. He said: "Please stop panic buying fuel or stockpiling. It is causing the issue and is dangerous. Essential services need fuel to operate."

Firefighters have also warned about the dangers of storing fuel in containers at home or in vehicles.

An NFRS spokesman said: "There legal limits on the quantity of fuel which can be stored at home, no more than 30 litres.

"Petrol is a dangerous substance as it is highly flammable and gives off vapours that can be easily ignited. Storing petrol therefore could result in serious incident if not kept safely in appropriate containers.

"NFRS does not recommend storing fuel at home — simply to fill up your tank with the amount of fuel you need."

Safety experts say any fuel kept at home should be stored in suitable containers in an outhouse, away from your home and away from ignition sources and heat with plenty of ventilation.

The government, retailers and motoring organisations have all urged drivers to buy responsibly after BP said on Thursday that up to 100 of its forecourts were short of at least one grade of fuel because of a lack of deliveries.

Esso said a handful of its petrol stations operated alongside Tesco Express stores were affected.

Simon Williams, of the RAC, has urged motorists not to stockpile fuel.

He said: "We urge drivers to only take the fuel they really need. Stock piling in containers only makes the situation worse for those who desperately need fuel as well as potentially causing unnecessary fire risks if not stored correctly.

"It's also vitally important the emergency services and businesses that help to keep the UK moving can get access to fuel.