Europe

‘It’s like end of days!’ Fuel delivery driver being followed – ‘cars tracking every turn’

Fuel Shortage: Driver stuck in Oldham overnight

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Shortages of HGV drivers has led to petrol stations falling low on fuel supplies, sparking panic buying from motorists. Long queues have been reported at petrol stations around the country, with “higher-than-normal demand” forcing some to limit the amount of fuel sold – or close completely.

David Flatman, sports pundit and former rugby union player, has shared how his lorry driver brother-in-law who delivers fuel is being followed by desperate motorists.

He said on Twitter: “My brother in law is a lorry driver and delivers fuel.

“He’s on the road now and there are people following him – literally tracking his every turn – in cars.

“He says it’s like end of days. 2021 y’all.”

In response to Twitter users who said the driver was in a “Mad Max” situation, Mr Flatman said his brother-in-law is OK.

He added: “I worried it might be really scary for him, but he just thinks they’re all knobs.”

On Monday morning, Good Morning Britain was told some drivers have also been verbally attacked as they carry out their job.

From a garage in Lewes, East Sussex, the ITV programme reported lorries delivering fuel to the station are now forced to hire security to escort the drivers as they have been met with abuse from angry motorists.

Steve Smith, a Co-op manager in Burwell, also shared his experiences of abuse and told the public on his local Facebook page he would not accept it.

He wrote: “It’s with great sadness I post this but due to incidents today I feel I have to.

“May I remind you verbal abuse will not be accepted to any of my colleagues.

“Also remember all of our store and forecourt is monitored by CCTV so I will personally ensure all incidents of abuse are reported.

“Is there a shortage of fuel? Simply no, it’s a shortage of drivers across the UK.

“Will we run out of fuel? Quite possibly yes due to everyone panic buying.

“When you are queuing for fuel can you please not block entrances so others can still use the car park to shop.”

The Government has downplayed reports it will be deploying the army to help deliver fuel to stations.

Environment secretary George Eustice said: “We’ve no plans at the moment to bring in the army to actually do driving.

“We always have a Civil Contingencies section within the Army on standby – but we’re not jumping to that necessarily at the moment.”

He also added: “The most important thing is that people buy petrol as they normally would. There isn’t a shortage.

“There have been some shortages of HGV drivers getting petrol to forecourts but actually that is quite limited.”

On Saturday night, the Government also revealed it would offer short-term visas for foreign hauliers to come to the UK and help plug the gap.

The offer gives 5,000 HGV drivers and 5,500 poultry workers the right to work in the UK.

However, Edwin Atema, head of research and enforcement at Netherlands-based FNV union, said EU HGV drivers will not come to the UK despite the short term visa offers.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today: “The EU workers we speak to will not go to the UK for a short-term visa to help the UK out of the s*** they created themselves.

“In the short term, I think that will be a dead end. I think some kind of Marshall plan would be needed to drag the whole industry back to the surface.

“It’s not like you can offer a visa, offer a good payment, and the issue will be solved. There is a whole range of issues behind [it].

“Even the use of toilet facilities in the UK, and of course the rest of Europe, is an issue.”

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