Truck driver offers free home-made meals at Warwick Services

A lorry driver has been giving free food to fellow truckers at motorway services, after finding he “couldn’t get a coffee for 100 miles”. On his day off on Wednesdays Patrick Owens has been handing food out at Warwick Services, 35 miles from home, with his wife cooking about 40 meals. In one area at night, Mr Owens said he found five petrol stations were either closed or had stopped customers using the toilet or getting coffee there.

He said drivers were key workers. While motorway services remain open during the coronavirus lockdown, many have been offering a limited service.

Mr Owens, 37, from Chipping Campden in Gloucestershire, said: “If it wasn’t for us, you wouldn’t be eating. “We’re treated as second-class citizens…

We’re on the front line [of the coronavirus pandemic] as much as the NHS and the police and the fire brigade. “We are providing for the country, well, the world. “I don’t want us to be treated like the scum of the earth.

Give us a break.”

His wife, Shelley, 39, was up at 04:00 BST on Wednesday, before Mr Owens delivered sausages, mushrooms, tomatoes and drinks at breakfast time in the northbound M40 services area. Mr Owens said she had “cooked her heart out”. He later returned carrying cottage pies, tea and coffee in the car boot from 17:00 BST.

Meal vouchers truck drivers would usually get cannot be used when premises are closed. The food has been funded out of Mr Owens’ pocket, but a GoFundMe page has also been launched, raising more than GBP350 under an HGV SOS UK name, as he could not “afford to do it” on his own. “Ninety-nine percent of the truck drivers, they can’t believe what I’m doing, they think I’m mad, but… it’s in my blood, so I enjoy it.

“I like to make sure [they’ve] got food in their bellies.”

Earlier this month, delivery drivers said they were being denied access to toilets at some service stations and petrol garages. Cross Transport, which delivers to supermarkets, has said drivers were being told to stay in their cabs on arrival at distribution centres. The Secretary of State for Transport has urged service stations to stay open.

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) has said its members were being denied access because of fears over coronavirus.

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