AN auctioneers got tongues wagging when they installed former RAF fighter fuel tanks on a grass verge.

Bosses at Gateway Auctions Limited installed the out of service Tornado fighter fuel tanks in Mitton Road, Whalley in a bid to drum up business.

But the unusual items left residents scratching their heads about what they were and where they have come from.

Cllr Allan Knox, the leader of the opposition at Ribble Valley Council, said: "My wife saw them and took a picture.

"At the time we had no idea what these things were.

"It looked more like something out of North Korea than Whalley."

But bosses at Gateway Auctions, which recently relocated to Whalley from Gisburn, said there was 'nothing to be concerned about'.

David Sunderland, the founder of Gateway Auctions Limited, said: "They are are fuel tanks.

"We are a dispenser contractor for the Ministry of Defence so we sell a lot of products for them.

"We sell a lot of construction equipment, as well as vehicles and engineering machinery.

"We also source products from the Ministry of Defence such as tanks, drop tanks and aircraft spares.

"We were originally based in Gisburn but we moved to this site at the beginning of September because we wanted a bigger site but to stay in the Ribble Valley as we like it here.

"We wanted people to know where we are based and people kept on driving on the grass next to us, so we moved the fuel tanks there rather than use traffic cones.

"People shouldn't be concerned as it's just an empty fuel tank.

"The tanks are still here and for sale and might go on our online auction."

The tanks, worth around £500 each are from a Tornado GR4, a two-seat, all-weather, day and night attack and reconnaissance aircraft.

The fighter has been in service with the RAF for more than 30 years, but a combination of major upgrade programmes and numerous continual enhancements has kept the aircraft amongst the forefront of Britain's attack aircraft.

The aircraft has been used and deployed in the Middle East region for more than 20 years.

For more details visit