Dozens of drivers face cars being written off due to contaminated petrol from Morrisons

·4-min read
The damage to the engines could cost up to £6,000 to repair(SWNS)
The damage to the engines could cost up to £6,000 to repair. (SWNS)

Contaminated fuel sold by a Morrisons petrol station left dozens of motorists stranded for hours after their cars broke down and could face repair bills of up to £6,000.

Around 30 vehicles caused chaos in the surrounding area of the Leicester petrol station when they ground to a halt after filling up with "watery orange" petrol which "looked like tea" on Tuesday afternoon.

Drivers now face their cars being written off or costing thousands of pounds to repair after the dodgy fuel caused serious damage to their engines.

Some were left waiting for up to seven hours to have their tanks drained after breaking down on the forecourt or just several metres away.

Morrisons shut off the pumps and closed down the site while an investigation was launched.

Dirty fuel drained from one of the affected car engines. (SWNS)
Dirty fuel drained from one of the affected car engines. (SWNS)

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The supermarket has since apologised and revealed contractors accidentally transferred "contaminated product" into the fuel but have not offered any compensation so far.

But furious customers have since blasted "rude and unhelpful" staff who left them in the dark over what to do.

Alaa Hassam, 21, a school teacher from Leicestershire, was one of many drivers left waiting for hours after filling up with petrol which contained "sand, grit and water".

She said: “It was absolute chaos. I filled my car up at 12.20pm and didn’t get home until 7pm. It felt awful being completely helpless."

Hassam added her car initially worked fine but soon after leaving the petrol station "all of the lights on the dashboard were flashing and the steering wheel had jammed".

Dozens of cars were ground to a halt. (SWNS)
Dozens of cars were ground to a halt. (SWNS)

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A breakdown company eventually got her back to the Morrisons and drained the fuel.

She said Morrisons told all of the affected customers to go through their insurance but added "why should we go through insurance when that will raise our prices for the next five years and it was their fault. I'm told there could be lasting damage."

Charlotte Sullivan, 27, said her car broke down just around the corner from Morrisons after she filled up.

She said: "I got towed to a garage and that's when they took out the fuel tank and poured it into a jug and it was just brown.

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"They were shocked. He said it looked like someone had put a cup of tea in there."

Luke Cook, 43, a mechanic from Wrong Fuel Solution, said: “We were originally called out to do three vehicles.

“Then we saw all the people standing around beside their stranded cars and no one knew what was going on. It was madness.

"There were cars on the exit, cars on the slip road out, five cars in the petrol station and within half a mile of it, we saw four others broken down.

“There are obviously far more vehicles that broke down in the area. I would imagine there are at least 30 cars affected.

The broken down cars caused chaos in the local area.
The broken down cars caused chaos in the local area. (SWNS)

“We’re going out to drain a few more cars tomorrow that actually made it home before realising the problem.

He said it was the contaminated fuel was "probably 50/50 water and petrol with a layer of sediment and residue in between."

Cook said it would cost between £5,000 to £6,000 to fix the issue at an official dealer and the car may just end up being written off. 

He said Morrisons even refused to pay all the affected customers a full tank of petrol and only offered £10 in compensation.

Cook said: “One chap had only filled up £16 in the first place and couldn’t afford to pay for a full tank, so we ended up paying.

A spokeswoman for Morrisons said: "We are really sorry for the disruption caused to customers.

"A contractor completing maintenance work on our tanks accidently transferred some contaminated product into a live tank.

"We reacted immediately and shut off the pumps - we are currently investigating what caused the issue.

"Any customers who were unfortunately impacted should take any receipts to the customer service desk at the store and they will help them."

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