RECYCLING collections were cancelled and key workers were forced to drive away from pumps empty-handed as the ongoing petrol crisis continued for a fourth day in a row.

Rochford District Council said all compostable waste will not be collected this week because of fuel shortages.

There may also be delays to normal refuse services, bulky collections and bin deliveries and repairs.

Southend Tory councillor Daniel Nelson, says the chaos has even meant emergency workers had to leave petrol stations without fuel.

His wife, a key worker herself, is having to cycle to work each day to save petrol.

The crisis is also stopping the family travelling to Yorkshire to visit Mr Nelson’s father-in-law who has suffered from a stroke.

He said: “On Sunday, we were looking for petrol to fuel the car and saw an ambulance going into a station, look at the pump and have to leave because there was no petrol.

“Lives could be potentially put at risk because of this selfishness.”

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He added: “It also means we may not be able to go and see my father-in-law who has just had a stroke where we can’t get petrol.

“He lives in Yorkshire, but you can’t do a four-hour journey without much petrol in the tank.

“We were hoping where he was coming out of hospital to be there to give him support. But because of all this we can’t.”

The councillor says his wife even has colleagues - who normally have to drive to work - who have been left “stuck indoors”, only able to go to places within walking distance.

Mr Nelson, who represents Southchurch, added: “In my opinion whoever reported there was a shortage should be sued. It has now created an actual petrol shortage because of people panic buying.

“My advice is if your warning light has come on that’s when you need to fill up, there is no need to buy petrol if you don’t need it.

“Key workers like my wife and this ambulance driver are being affected.”