A petrol station operator has been fined £60,000 for selling petrol in a drinks bottle following a successful prosecution by Suffolk County Council Trading Standards.
Petrogas UK Ltd, operator of the Applegreen Petrol Station in Ipswich, pleaded guilty to charges of selling petrol in an unsuitable container and to adequately train a staff member in the sale of petrol.
At Chelmsford Magistrate’s Court on March 6, the company was fined £60,000, ordered to pay £5,770 in costs and a victim surcharge of £170.
The charges related to a transaction on May 13, 2019. Filmed on CCTV, Mrs Fiona Foster purchased a bottle of drink from the petrol station shop, poured the contents onto the forecourt and filled the empty bottle with petrol from a pump. This petrol was then used at an incident for which Foster has since admitted attempted murder and arson.
Although these consequences were not taken into account in the verdict, the judge said that “the public was put at risk” and described the case as “unusual and sensational”.
A Suffolk County Council Trading Standards spokesperson said: “Businesses must comply with the rules and have practices in place to keep their staff and the public safe. Petrol can only be dispensed into suitable containers, which must be clearly labelled with the words PETROL and HIGHLY FLAMMABLE.’’
“Petrogas UK Ltd failed to do this at their premises on Woodbridge Road, breaching health and safety standards. We will continue to work with businesses to ensure petrol is stored and handled safely, but we will take action when we need to.”
Councillor Richard Rout, Cabinet Member for Environment and Public Protection at Suffolk County Council, said: “Our Trading Standards officers regularly work alongside local businesses, giving them advice and information to operate safely. But we will prosecute when necessary, in order to protect the public.
“This successful prosecution shows the variety of work which our officers carry out every day, to keep us all safe. If you ever have concerns about a potential scam, faulty product or poor service, I encourage you to report it.”