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  • "Say what you like about supermarkets, but at least their fuel is consistent and cheap; and the payment is quick.
    I had to use Esso at Cross-in-hand today. The fuel was cheap; but the lone cashier held up the queue by offering a deal on chocolate bars before proceeding with the fuel transaction. He then forgot the VAT receipt I had requested at the start. As a Sussex gentleman, I politely requested my receipt and refrained from suggesting where he insert his junk snacks."
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Fuel riddle after cars fill up and break down

John Backshall, left, with mechanic Joe Mendall and the Honda Accord which choked to a halt because of contaminated petrol

John Backshall, left, with mechanic Joe Mendall and the Honda Accord which choked to a halt because of contaminated petrol

First published in News by , Assistant News Editor

A mystery petrol contamination has brought cars to a grinding halt.

Drivers who filled up at Texaco on Avis Way, Newhaven, on Wednesday morning (November 28) had to be rescued just minutes after driving off the forecourt.

Two motorists only got around the corner before their cars choked to a halt.

Driver John Backshall was on the way to visit his partner in hospital when his Honda Accord broke down.

He fears the problem will cost him hundreds of pounds in repairs.

His mechanic Joe Mendall from Mend-All Auto Services in Seaford said it is the worst contamination he has seen in his 20-year career.


“It is really badly contaminated fuel,” he said. “I have never come across it this bad before.

“And another garage around the corner from us has the same situation with a man who filled up on the same morning.

“It’s not diesel mixed in with petrol.

“There is a distinctive layer of fuel and the rest of what we have siphoned off is sludge.

“I don’t know what it is but it shouldn’t be there.”


Rob Gochmanski, area manager for Tate’s Fuel which runs the Newhaven Texaco branch, said the problem is being investigated.

He said: “We have only had two customer complaints.

“When there is contaminated fuel lots of cars break down and there are lots of problems.

“Newhaven sells 10,000 litres of unleaded fuel a week. We have a lot of regular customers who have not been affected.”

But he said samples of fuel had been sent off for testing to see where the contamination had come from.

Mr Gochmanski added: “If it’s our fault and out responsibility we will do everything we can to help out.”

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