TIME TO PANIC BUY AGAIN! Army’s se­cret train­ing to op­er­ate fuel tankers

Midweek Sport - - FRONT PAGE - By RACHEL SPENCER

THIS is the first picture of the Army be­ing se­cretly trained to use petrol tankers.

Sol­diers were spot­ted at a BP garage in Leam­ing­ton Spa, War­wicks, be­ing shown how to op­er­ate a fuel tanker in a cloak and dag­ger op­er­a­tion that started on Bank Hol­i­day Mon­day.

Driver Jaz Hayer, 33, was at a petrol sta­tion on the A46 at 7am that morn­ing when he saw troops be­ing shown the ropes.

He whipped out his cam­era and started snap­ping away – but was or­dered to stop tak­ing pho­tos and keep quiet about what he had seen.

Jez said: “It seems like they were in full prepa­ra­tion for a strike. They were try­ing to do it dis­creetly but it is quite hard when there are so many peo­ple in uni­form.

“It seemed like they didn’t want us to know they are pre­par­ing. They’re try­ing to get as many peo­ple trained so they’re ready for when it does hap­pen.”

He added: “We’ve had strikes be­fore but I’ve never seen any­thing like this. Ev­ery­one will now be think­ing, ‘should we panic buy?’

Chaos

“I was only go­ing to put £20 into my car but I ended up spend­ing £120 and fill­ing the tank. I’m sure I wouldn’t have been the only per­son ei­ther.”

Bungling Min­is­ter Fran­cis Maude plunged the na­tion into chaos when he urged driv­ers to horde fuel last week.

He said: “A bit of fuel in a jerry can in the garage is a sen­si­ble pre­cau­tion to take.”

His com­ments were blamed for panic buy­ing which saw York­shire mum Diane Hill suf­fer­ing 40% burns when she tried to pour petrol into jars near to a burn­ing stove in her kitchen and set her­self alight.

Trained

A spokesper­son for BP said: “No date has been set for in­dus­trial ac­tion but as part of con­tin­gency mea­sures MOD staff are be­ing trained to op­er­ate tankers.

“All hauliers in­volved in the dis­pute are do­ing the same.”

Talks are on­go­ing be­tween Unite union and the six dis­tri­bu­tion com­pa­nies, with tanker driv­ers – who earn at least £45,000 per year – threat­en­ing in­dus­trial ac­tion over safety stan­dards. Unite has to give a week’s no­tice be­fore tak­ing any strike ac­tion.

SNAPPED: Sol­diers caught

train­ing as Min­is­ter Fran­cis Maude (left) pre­pares for pos­si­ble strike

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