THERE were scenes that hadn’t been seen for 20 years over the weekend at local petrol stations with queues of cars stretching back scores of yards.

Who are these people? Everyone in the queues says that they are running on fumes and desperately need to fill up, so who are all the shy panickers, who were there out of irrational fear?

Even a woman spotted in Stockton putting £217 into a Ford Fiesta and a bootload of petrol cans turns out to have been behaving quite normally and doing a weekly shop for her business.

It is just hysteria, and yesterday there were signs that, at least in our nick of the woods, the situation was calming down.

Hopefully that will be reinforced by the joint message put out by the main petrol producers saying there is no shortage of fuel, only a slight disruption to its delivery. There is no need to panic.

We live in such an on-demand society, where you can buy practically anything online and have it delivered to your door within 24 hours, that even a little disruption drives us crazy.

There are no quick fixes for the shortage of lorry drivers so we are going to have to get used to sporadic failures of delivery – supermarket shoppers have been reporting empty shelves for weeks.

In the old days, if one shop had sold out of a line and was waiting for its weekly or monthly delivery, you simply went next door or down the road. We may have to start going back to those days; we are certainly going to have to stop panicking at the first whiff of a shortage.