Key workers share 'frustrating' impact of panic-buying of fuel

Key workers share the impact panic-buying has had on them

Key workers share the impact panic-buying has had on them. Pictured is carer Amy Winton and emergency service tyre provider Stewert McCafferty - Credit: ARCHANT STAFF

From having to sleep at work to missing vital medical appointments – hundreds of people across Norfolk and Waveney have been hit hard following the panic-buying of fuel. 

As queues continued to form outside many filling stations throughout the weekend, many reported running out of petrol and diesel completely while the emergency services assisted those most in need on the forecourts.

But what has been the knock-on effect to the county’s most vulnerable? 

Dozens of individuals shared their fears and concerns – in particular key workers. 

Jade Bowdidge, of Lowestoft, travels to Norfolk every day to work as a Covid-19 vaccinator.

Not only has she been unable to get to work but she is also registered disabled. 

She said: "It’s caused all sorts of issues.  

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“It means I cannot get to my physio appointment, to enable me to keep strong and stay working.

"I also won’t get medication injections to help with my conditions.”

Stewert McCafferty

Stewert McCafferty - Credit: SUBMITTED

Stewart McCafferty, 22, of Lowestoft, is the assistant manager for STS Tyre Pro that supplies and fits tyres for all types of vehicles including emergency service vehicles. 

He travels from Lowestoft to Norwich daily. 

“I’ve tried a few stations but either they were empty or there were queues for miles," he said. 

"I made it to work today but only have 60 miles in my car. 

“It’s also frustrating because my dad’s also very ill and isn’t driving at the moment after losing my granddad.

"I come home and drive for my mum and nan too to get shopping and things.”

Amy Winton

Amy Winton - Credit: SUBMITTED

Amy Winton, of Stalham, is a carer who works with a small group of carers in the area. 

She said: “We have no fuel in the area.

"At the moment we have all managed to make it to work but if it keeps happening, I don’t know what we’ll do. 

“There’s a good chance at least one of us may not be able to work.” 

Another carer, who wanted to be named only as Sophie, of Ormesby, said: “I’m a carer and travel 24 miles to my work.

"I now have 90 miles left in my car and I am worried that I cannot get fuel into my car over the weekend for my extra shift on Monday.  

The 26-year-old added: “If I cannot get the fuel over the weekend then I may not be able to go in.

"My manager has asked me to be a team leader on Monday but even my local garage has no fuel at all. 

“Our care home is already short on staff.

"Fortunately, we do have new staff starting very soon but at the moment we have to rely on agency staff to come and support.

"Quite a few of them live far away so it will be difficult for them if they do not have enough petrol, like me, to get to work. We do have a few carers that live locally but they might not be able to work extra next week.”

Cars queuing at the Gunton Service Station and Gulf Garage Yarmouth Road Lowestoft

Cars queuing at the Gunton Service Station and Gulf Garage on Yarmouth Road in Lowestoft. - Credit: Mark Boggis

There were queues of traffic forming for fuel once more on Sunday morning, with a steady flow of vehicles in queues to fill up at 11am at the Gunton Service Station and Gulf Garage on Yarmouth Road in Lowestoft, while there were plenty of spare spaces left for vehicles to fill up at the fuel pumps at the Jubilee Way filling station Shell Garage in Lowestoft. 

What else have you been saying?

This paper has been inundated with comments from its readers. Here is just a handful are some of your thoughts:

Mark Frosdick, who works for a production company in Loddon and lives in north Norfolk, said: “I called my wife to say I probably won’t be home to see her or my children this weekend and I would have to sleep in my car at a petrol station.

"Luckily I managed to get fuel from the Shell garage in Newmarket with zero miles left.” 

Another key worker, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: “Yes I have been affected by the panic buyers.

"I am domiciliary care, I have 80 miles left in my car, and need to get to my vulnerable ladies and gents as of Monday to distribute meds that are in a locked cupboard. 

“These ladies and gents could be in an awful state without medication. One lady in particular.  

“I am actually disgusted with the local people who think having a full fuel tank is important to get either their child to school – walking distance – or for people to have their cars full in a driveway 'just in case’, all for the sake of scaremongering idiots.”