Hundreds of BP dealers were forced to work through the night after a system crash knocked out its credit card terminals. Retailers said the glitch,

which affected the whole of BP’s network, hit at 12am on November 5 and lasted for about 12 hours. Mark Wilson, operations manager at the Fraser Group, said: "I was alerted to the problem at 1.45am. Staff reverted to using manual vouchers - but this meant there was no online authorisation." With no BP support at that time, Mark worked with other retailers to disconnect the affected part of the kit.

BP apologised, blaming a software upgrade. It said: "Due to a central IT system failure on payment terminals, BP sites were unable to accept any card payments for a number of hours. As soon as the fault was discovered, we worked to rectify the problem and minimise any disruption for our customers."

Retailers said no compensation was offered.