Essex Trading Standards has warned motorists not to store fuel as panic buying continues in the county.

The watchdog says storing petrol at home is “incredibly dangerous” and the highly flammable liquid is at risk of causing a serious fire in explosion should it leak out of the container it is being stored in.

It can also have an impact physically on humans, with vapours from fuel causing irritation of the eyes, nose and throat.

Exposure to high concentrations, particularly in restricted spaces, can also cause dizziness and unconsciousness.

Essex Trading Standards says you can store up to 30 litres of petrol at home or at non-workplace premises.

However, if you wish to store more than 30 litres of petrol and up to a maximum of 275 litres of petrol at your home or premises you must notify trading standards.

This must be done in writing, giving your name and address as the occupier of the storage place or the address where the petrol is stored.

This is not a new requirement but carries forward long standing requirements of the previous legislation.

A trading standards spokesman said: "Petrol can be stored in suitable portable metal or plastic containers, demountable fuel tanks and a combination of the above as long as no more than 275 litres is kept.

"Any petrol and diesel that is being stored should be kept in a storage building with adequate ventilation and fire protection.

"If you do have to fill up a separate vessel with fuel make sure it is a UN approved container and not a water bottle or even a plastic shopping bag like we’ve seen on social media over the past few days."

Plastic containers can hold up to 10 litres of fuel while metal containers can hold 20 litres.