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Last Updated: Monday, 12 September 2005, 18:27 GMT 19:27 UK
Fuel queue motorists block roads
Petrol station queue in Tunbridge Wells
Drivers queued up at a filling station in Tunbridge Wells
Filling stations in the South East have struggled to cope with the numbers of motorists stocking up with fuel ahead of Wednesday's planned protests.

Sussex Police said they were called to Tesco in Eastbourne after long queues led to traffic jams on the main road.

Campaigners have said there may be protests in Dover. The town's MP Gwyn Prosser said it was no surprise because the port was vital to the economy.

"It is one of the busiest ferry ports in the world," he said.

"Whenever there's a demonstration people tend to focus on Dover which is sad, because we put up with French protests for a long time and are always complaining bitterly at the disruption to legitimate trade.

"It would be a shame if, on this occasion, the farmers or the hauliers chose the port of Dover to vent their spleen.

Petrol station queue in Tunbridge Wells
Motorists stocked up on fuel ahead of the planned protests

"We have got to allow a peaceful protest but if vehicle owners are using lorries and tractors to blockade the port and stop the free flow of trade which is part of the EU agreement, then firm action should be taken.

"It's a matter of striking the right balance and I'm sure Kent Police will do that."

A garage in Langton Green on the Kent-Sussex border was one of the first in the region to hit the 1 a litre mark last week, when it pushed prices up to 1.04.

The cost of fuel in the South East continued to rise with a Kent petrol station charging 1.09 a litre.

Prices increased sharply after Hurricane Katrina shut oil rigs and refineries in the US.

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