An NHS worker was reduced to tears after a half an hour queue at a petrol station made her late for work.
Laura, who has asked to be referred to by her first name, said she was unable to get fuel from three sites in her area this morning.
She eventually found one station open in Birkenhead, Merseyside but was faced with a long queue – where only the most expensive petrol was available.
Drivers across Britain are being warned to buy fuel “as usual” and not to panic buy amid a shortage of heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers.
But chaotic scenes have broken out across the nation, with people queuing for hours and filling up jerry cans.
Laura told the Liverpool Echo : “I was up early for my shift. I’m a community care worker for the NHS.
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“I’ve had to put my last £30 in the tank. I’m on shift for the next 4 days and I don’t get paid until Wednesday and I cried at the petrol station.
“I’m now running late for patients who rely on me for meals and medication.”
Another driver said he was on his way to work as a truck driver at 6.45am this morning when he was greeted by a long queue at the Shell garage on Chester Road in Heswall.
He said the queue extended onto the roundabout and he was sat waiting for around 15 minutes before he got to the front.
The truck driver said there was no shortage of petrol at the garage and feared people panic buying could stop others who need fuel from getting to work.
As queues started forming outside filling stations early on Saturday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office said it was looking at temporary measures to address the shortage of HGV drivers.
Reports said that the government would allow up to 5,000 foreign drivers into Britain on short-term visas, which it had previously ruled out despite demands from logistics companies and retailers as the sight of bare supermarket shelves becoming increasingly common.
The UK’s Road Haulage Association (RHA) says Britain needs 100,000 more drivers if it is to meet demand.
The driver shortage has been caused partly by the pandemic along with Brexit, as lockdowns caused the loss of about a year of driver training and testing for new HGV drivers who take months to train up.
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Firms have been offering cash incentives, wage boosts and free training in desperate bids to recruit and retain drivers, as the exodus of EU workers left them struggling to fill gaps.
“We’re looking at temporary measures to avoid any immediate problems, but any measures we introduce will be very strictly time limited,” a Downing Street spokesperson said in an earlier statement.
“We have ample fuel stocks in this country and the public should be reassured there are no shortages,” the Downing Street spokeswoman said.
“But like countries around the world we are suffering from a temporary Covid-related shortage of drivers needed to move supplies around the country.”