Fuel protesters blocking motorways ‘forced to give up jobs because of price hikes’

Protesters say they face commuting costs in the hundreds every week

Protesters target M4 in fuel duty demonstration

Fuel activists blocking motorways across the UK in protest against the price of petrol have revealed soaring costs have forced them out of jobs.

Convoys of protesters have caused severe disruption by driving slowly on purpose along main roads - including the M4 and M5.

Protesters managed to shut down a crossing between England and Wales, while others trundled along stretches of road in Devon on Monday.

Vicky Stamper was among those who gathered at Magor services in Wales to take part in a roadblocking protest.

The former HGV driver from Cwmbran said she had been forced to quit her job in Bristol because she could not afford the fuel any longer.

The same situation had happened with her partner Darren, she said.

“We had to leave those jobs because it was costing us £380 a week just to get to and from work,” the 41-year-old said.

Police escort vehicles along the M4 motorway during the morning rush hour

“I then lost a job two weeks ago because the company couldn’t afford to put fuel in that many lorries so last in, first out.”

Talking about the disruption the protest will cause to drivers, Ms Stamper added: “We’re doing this for us and for them. If they want to have a moan, they should join us instead.”

Another protester, Richard Dite, said his commuting costs were also rocketing.

“It’s costing me £300 a week before I even get to work and earn anything,” the mobile welder from Maesteg in South Wales said.

The 44-year-old added: “My only option soon will be to put the welding gear in the shed and call it a day, maybe go on the dole.”

Meanwhile Martin Crowley from Cardiff said fuel prices were making a large dent in his livelihood.

“Fuel cost me £280 over two days last week. It’s unbelievable,” the 48-year-old exotic animal courier said. “You can hardly make a living anymore.”

Protesters drove slowly along roads on Monday in a demonstration over high fuel prices

The slow-moving convoys took to the roads just one day after petrol prices hit a new high of 191.5p.

The protest along the Prince of Wales bridge stretch of M4 appeared to cause the most disruption on Monday morning, with police saying drivers faced“significant delays”.

The eastbound direction was eventually closed off, while officers stopped the westbound convoy from crossing.

Drivers also met elsewhere on Monday to drive slowly on main roads, including along the M5 and A38 in Devon.

Fuel protesters were also out in Leeds in Monday morning, with images showing them holding banners and talking to police who had closed off the exit junction at Ferrybridge services.

Protesters talk to the police after they deployed a stinger on the exit junction at Ferrybridge services in Leeds

West Yorkshire Police said it was “negotiating” with demonstrators over how to conduct the protest.

A government spokesman said: “While we respect the right to protest, people’s day-to-day lives should not be disrupted, especially on busy motorways where lives are put at risk and resulting traffic delays will only add to fuel use.

“The new Public Order Bill will make it a criminal offence to glue yourself to a dangerous motorway, which sees police spending hours trying to safely remove people.”

Additional reporting by Press Association

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