Some Eastern European hauliers are allegedly welding extra tanks to their tractor units to bring cheap diesel into the Southeast and sell it on the black market.

RMI Petrol chairman Brian Madderson told Forecourt Trader that an undercover BBC reporter, who approached him to ask about the legality of such a practice, said some Eastern European hauliers are filling up with diesel in Luxembourg for around a £1 a litre, bringing it into the UK and selling the fuel from industrial estates in the Southeast at a cheap rate.

They are thought to be either syphoning off the fuel into canisters or selling it direct from their vehicle tank to the vehicle tank of other commercial drivers looking for cheaper fuel prices.

Madderson said: “We’ve not heard it coming into the Southeast like that before. It’s contrary to HMRC; contrary to Trading Standards because there’s no finite measures of the fuel; and it’s probably contrary to fire regulations and Health & Safety. But it’s just another manifestation of the distress that high prices are causing and the steps that people will take to find a way through, even if it is illegal.”