Moves by the Government to urge fuel retailers to give motorists a fair deal on petrol have been welcomed in west Dorset.

The intervention from Business Secretary Grant Shapps comes amid anger about the cost of fuel locally, particularly at Morrisons' Bridport site which has been accused of “abusing its position” by charging more for petrol compared to elsewhere.

The price of fuel at the store's garage in West Bay Road – well used by locals and passing drivers - has been contentious for several months as it has been charging more at the pumps compared to other petrol stations in the area – with prices even higher than Morrisons in Yeovil and Weymouth.

A number of local motorists have voiced their anger about the situation and the Bridport Business Chamber of Trade and Commerce has shared its 'deep concern' about the price of fuel locally.

West Dorset MP Chris Loder, who has taken the issue up in Parliament, went as far as to urge drivers to ‘think twice’ before getting fuel from Morrisons and other supermarket fuel stations because of the risk of being ‘ripped off’.

It comes as the cost of fuel is starting to reduce with the average price of petrol falling below 150p per litre for the first time in more than 10 months.

Mr Loder said he was ‘very pleased’ to see fuel prices at Morrisons Bridport falling to around 148.9 pence per litre in December, although he said this was still higher than nearby towns.

The MP said he welcomed the intervention of Mr Shapps who has written to fuel retailers urging them to divulge details of their pricing policies to the Competitions and Market Authority (CMA) which have left consumers feeling the pinch, and prompting the CMA to investigate.

Mr Loder said: “Since my intervention at Prime Minister’s Questions (in November) we have seen progress with the CMA’s investigation which, still ongoing, is highlighting many of the unfair pricing practices we all feared were happening.

"I am very pleased that, after shining a spotlight on this issue, the Government is acting swiftly in the interests of fairness for the consumer."

The MP met with Dan Turnbull, director of the CMA, before Christmas and urged him to take Bridport’s fuel price situation as a ‘case study’ for the investigation.

Morrisons has previously responded to the News by referring to a statement from the British Retail Consortium, which said: "Retailers understand the cost pressures facing motorists and will do everything they can to offer the best value-for-money across petrol and diesel forecourts, passing on cost reductions as they feed through the supply chain.”

* Figures from data company Experian show the average price of a litre of fuel at UK forecourts on Monday was 149.7p.

The reduction of nearly 42p from the record high of 191.5p in July last year, is "a huge relief for drivers", according to the AA.

The last time the average price of petrol was below 150p per litre was on February 24, last year, the day Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Diesel's average price on Monday was 172.2p per litre, down nearly 27p compared with the record 199.1p last July.

A 12-month cut in fuel duty of 5p per litre - worth a saving of 6p when VAT is taken into account - was introduced on March 23, 2022.