GWENT garages are under seige from panic-buying motorists this morning ahead of planned fuel protests.

Large queues snaked their way around garage forecourts from 6am, and some garages were forced to close as they ran out of fuel.

The Fuel Lobby is threatening to protest outside oil refineries on Wednesday, and the South Wales Hauliers Association will bring chaos to Gwent roads on Friday with a slow protest on the M4, but industry directors are urging drivers not to panic buy.

Nigel Kaszubowski, owner of Crown Corner Service Station in Blackwood said: "We've been very busy. We were very busy yesterday, right up until the point that we closed up, and were turning people away, even though we stayed open an extra hour.

"They've been queuing since 6am this morning. This is probably going to deplete our stocks so we may well run out at this rate.

"I expect we'll get a delivery within a day though."

A spokesman at David Taylor in Ebbw Vale said: "People are just panic buying.

"We are limiting sales to £20 a time to make supplies last. We are a 24-hour garage, and they've been coming all through the night."

A spokeswoman at Sainsbury's in Cwmbran said: "It's absolute bedlam - they've been queuing since we opened."

Some garages are already running out of fuel. Maureen Torgesen, an assistant at Texaco (Star) Ltd in Pwllmeyric, Chepstow, said queues were building up this morning.

"People look like they are panicking and have been coming in saying they are worried they might not have enough fuel for work," she said. "It's stupid but people are just reacting to what's been on the news."

A spokesman for Abergavenny Service Station in Hereford Road said: "People are panicking like hell. It all started yesterday and there are big queues again."

Neil Passmore, cashier at Risca Services, said they ran out of diesel and unleaded fuel some time yesterday evening and more deliveries are not expected until tomorrow.

A spokesman for Shell UK Ltd in Chepstow Road, Newport, said the garage ran out of unleaded fuel last night and had to close.

"There were queues all the way up the road," he said. "We ran out of unleaded fuel last night so had to close and we are still closed this morning. I don't know when our next delivery is due in. It's a bit of a worry even though we did a good trade last night."

A spokesman for Sinclair Service Station Ltd in Corporation Road said she could not understand why people were panic-buying.

"It started yesterday at 11am. There were just queues and queues of people - some were waiting as long as 20 minutes. I think all this panic is stupid because there is not a shortage of fuel.

People are just assuming there is because they've seen it on the news. "Some people have not been good natured because they think they're not going to get any fuel."