Latest: Louth’s John Darke garage ‘overwhelmed’ as Esso runs dry

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LOUTH’s John Darke garage has been ‘overwhelmed’ by the public panic buying fuel as the town’s only other garage, Esso, has run dry.

Cars are currently queueing much of the way up Grimsby Road to the A16 roundabout with some motorists passing by being caught up in the traffic.

The panic comes with the threat of strike action by tanker drivers but the law states any action would require seven days notice before it could happen, and talks are due to begin next week.

Colin Darke said: “We’ve been overwhelmed today, we still have diesel and unleaded but the unleaded will not last until our next delivery which is 7pm tonight (Thursday).

“We also have a delivery tomorrow night and more due Sunday, Monday and Tuesday but the delivery company is not certain on those yet.

Responding to concerns as to why the garage’s unleaded price had risen 6p from 137.9p per litre to 143.9p this morning, Mr Darke said: “We’ve had to buy in emergency supplies from outside sources.

“I don’t enjoy putting the prices up, but its costs more and my margins are the same.”

He also confirmed there were no plans to restrict the amount of fuel people can buy, he said the garage would simply stop selling any fuel whose supply falls to as low as 1,000 litres, in order to keep some for the emergency services.

Meanwhile the town’s Esso garage in Newmarket has been deserted for much of the day. Signs saying ‘No fuel, sorry’ have been up since at least 9am but the shop is still open for business.

A spokesman for ExxonMobil who own Esso, said although the firm could not comment on individual cases, they were doing ‘all they can to resupply their garages’.

Meanwhile the Ulceby Cross Service Station near Alford and Steve Wood Motors at Sutton on Sea both said they were coping well with demand and hoped to be able to fulfil all customers’ needs throughout the weekend.

And the Windmill Garage at Saltfleet had run out of diesel but had unleaded left.

Manager Adrian Major said: “We’ve been none stop all day. We’re running low on unleaded but have a delivery tomorrow morning.”

He confirmed there were no restrictions on how much fuel people could buy.

Lincolnshire Police told the Leader they had no plans to intervene unless petrol station queues became an obstruction to traffic or there were safety concerns.

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