Great Britain

Petrol supplies plundered as up to 85% of independent service stations run dry despite drivers urged not to panic buy

RUN DRY

UP to 85 per cent of petrol stations in the UK have run out of fuel as drivers panic buy.

More than half of all service stations outside on motorways were now dry as Brits scrambled to fill up their motors.

Fears of a petrol shortage are being exacerbated by a shortage of HVG drivers, which is hitting fuel distribution.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has urged motorists not to plunder fuel supplies by panic buying and to "be sensible."

But trade body Petrol Retailers Association, which represents around 5,500 independent outlets, said today 50 to 85 per cent of their service stations had run out of fuel.

The UK has around 8,000 petrol stations, most of them run by independent retailers.

MOTOR MADNESS

Fuel giants BP revealed around 30 per cent of its service stations - many on motorways - “do not currently have either of the main grades of fuel”.

It comes amid "frenzied" panic buying as the government was warned plans for solving the HGV driver shortage wouldn't stop bare shop shelves this Christmas.

Violence has erupted on Britain's petrol station forecourts as drivers queuing at the pumps turned on each other.

On Friday night, four men traded blows in s shocking brawl at an Esso garage in Chichester, East Sussex.

Earlier today, another fight broke out between moped drivers at a petrol station in Haverstock Hill, North London, as motorists struggled to fill up.

Meanwhile, two groups of men were seen "screaming" at each other before one group hurled stones as the other fled in a van at a Shell garage in Portsmouth, Hampshire.

Emergency services have been caught up in the chaos at Britain's petrol pumps this weekend.

Police had to jump ahead of queues at a garage in Hackney, East London, to avoid running out of petrol.

And an ambulance crashed into a car while trying to make its way through a line of queuing vehicles at a Shell station in Bromley, Greater London.

There is a shortage of 100,000 HGV drivers in the UK, according to the Road Haulage Association.

In a bid to ease the crisis, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has approved temporary visas for  5,000 overseas HGV drivers to help ease the crisis.

But today he admitted that the lorry driver shortage could last "years" despite government plans to train 4,000 more lorry drivers.

And he pleaded with drivers not to panic buy, stressing that there were no supply problems at the six refineries and 47 storage facilities across the UK.

He said: "“It’s not like we don’t have fuel in the country.

"We do need to just ensure people are filling up when they need to fill up, rather than thinking I’d better go and fill up now just in case I need it next week or the week after.”

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