Massive queues have formed early morning at petrol stations in Watford amid the third day of a national petrol panic buying crisis.

Nationally, motorists have been causing gridlock on major roads as panic buyers flock to petrol stations after reports that a small number of BP and Tesco petrol stations have been forced to close as a shortage of HGV drivers meant they could not be restocked in time.

The issue continues to persist for a third day in Watford, with large queues forming very early into the morning and further delays already beginning.

Sullivan Buses reports that their services will likely be delayed as the day progresses, following reports of the morning queues.

At the Tesco Extra at Lower High Street in Watford, a queue of cars stretched out slightly past the entrance to the petrol station from 7.30am.

One driver who had a near-empty tank reported it took 11 minutes to get down the slip road, and the overall experience to fill up his tank took around 30 minutes.

Pictures show large queues formed at Tesco Extra at around 7.30am (Photo: Wayne Godfrey)

Pictures show large queues formed at Tesco Extra at around 7.30am (Photo: Wayne Godfrey)

However it is understood that some streets in Watford were in gridlock much earlier into the morning – as far back as 2am.

In one instance, a driver at Tesco Extra's petrol station was seen bulk-buying by discretely filling up several cans.

Watford Observer: A driver was seen discretely filling cans up with petrol at Tesco Extra in WatfordA driver was seen discretely filling cans up with petrol at Tesco Extra in Watford

Motorists are advised particularly to avoid the Dome roundabout, as heavy traffic persists in the area while drivers attempt to fill their tanks at Asda petrol station.

Now with the gridlock at the Dome roundabout, some petrol stations in the area are believed to have shut.

The UK Petroleum Industry Association has said distributors are working hard to replenish stocks after the president of the AA blamed panic-buying for the shortage of fuel.

In a statement, a spokesperson said: “There are no reported issues with the production, storage, or import of fuels while distributors are working hard to replenish stocks at forecourts.

“Customers should continue to buy fuel as they would normally.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps called the fuel shortage a “manufactured situation” created by a road haulage association.

Speaking to Sky News today, the Cabinet minister said: “We need to ensure that people are reassured now that this rather manufactured situation has been created, because there’s enough petrol in the country.”

Asked who manufactured the situation, he said: “There was a meeting which took place about 10 days ago, a private meeting in which one of the haulage associations decided to leak the details to media, and that has created, as we have seen, quite a large degree of concern as people naturally react to those things.

“The good news is there is plenty of fuel, the bad news is if everyone carries on buying it when they don’t need it then we will continue to have queues.

“Sooner or later everyone’s cars will be more or less filled up, there won’t be anywhere else to put fuel. It’s not like the toilet roll crisis at the beginning of the pandemic where people could stockpile it, therefore it will come to an end.

“We just appeal to people to be sensible, fill up when you normally would. We’ve got this big package in place today in order to help alleviate the pressure and we ask people to do their part.”