WOMEN drivers could be put at risk by a new breed of unstaffed petrol stations now undergoing trials in Kent and Cambridgeshire, warns a group concerned with women's safety.
Shell and Q8 (owned by Kuwait Petroleum) are testing entirely automatic petrol stations which are open 24 hours a day and require no staff. Instead, drivers swipe their credit card into a reader beside the pump, take the required amount of petrol, and have the appropriate sum debited from their account.
But Fiona Brown, of the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, a lobbying group on women's safety, says: "We would take the view that there's safety in having humans around. It's like an unstaffed station - as a lone woman, you're much more vulnerable." The trust fears such stations might attract opportunist criminals.
Andrew Vickers, a spokesman for Shell, defended the concept: "The station we are testing in Godstone in Kent is over the road from a manned station. What we are …