Contaminated petrol has caused major problems for customers at two of Sainsbury’s petrol stations in the North East. The incidents happened at Cramlington on June 28 and Durham on July 1.

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson commented: “Regrettably, a systems fault at our supplier meant that a small number of drivers experienced mechanical problems after using our petrol stations in Durham and Cramlington.

“As soon as we became aware of this we closed the petrol stations and re-opened only when we were sure the problem had been dealt with. We have apologised to the drivers concerned for the inconvenience caused and paid the repair costs for the affected cars. We have now added further checks to the supplier’s processes to ensure that this cannot happen again."

Both forecourts were closed for approximately three hours while the problem was rectified. Sainsburys said 39 drivers experienced problems and all have been reimbursed for repair costs.

It is thought that the supplier’s tankers were contaminated with water.