Four men have been arrested and three diesel laundering plants dismantled by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) over the last five days. Together the plants were capable of producing over 15 million litres of illicit fuel a year, and evading almost £10 million in unpaid duty.
HMRC officers, assisted by the Police Service of Northern Ireland, dismantled a laundering plant hidden in farm buildings in the Crossmaglen area of Co Armagh on Thursday evening (27 June). A second plant was dismantled in a disused agricultural shed in the same area the next day. In unrelated activity, HMRC visited a filling station in the Coalisland area of Co Tyrone, where they removed 2,500 litres of suspected illicit fuel from the station forecourt on Saturday (29 June). A third laundering plant was dismantled after the search of a private address in Dungannon, also on Saturday.
In other activity HMRC officers arrested three men from South Armagh and a man from County Tyrone, all suspected of involvement in fuel fraud. All four were interviewed by HMRC and have been released pending further enquiries.
John Whiting, Assistant Director Criminal Investigation, HMRC, said:
“Our activity over the last week has not only stopped a large amount of laundered fuel entering the legitimate market, but 22 tonnes of toxic waste was also removed from these three sites. This chemical sludge would otherwise have been dumped indiscriminately in our countryside. Buying illicit fuel not only funds crime, but also supports and encourages this dangerous activity within our communities.
“If anyone has information about fuel fraud in their area we would encourage them to contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”
Pumps, tanks and equipment were removed from the laundering plants and investigations are continuing.
Notes for editors
1. Laundered fuel is red (or green) diesel, which has been filtered through chemicals or acids to remove the Government marker. The chemicals and acids remain in the fuel and damage fuel pumps in diesel cars.
2. Red diesel is marked gas oil or a rebated fuel for use in agricultural machinery and not for use in road vehicles. Green diesel is the Republic of Ireland equivalent of the UK’s red diesel.
3. Photographs are available on HMRC’s Flickr channel www.flickr.com/hmrcgovuk
4. South Armagh laundering plant dismantled on Thursday 27 June – NI 16/13 refers.
Follow us on Twitter @hmrcgovuk
Issued by HM Revenue & Customs Press Office
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is the UK’s tax authority.
HMRC is responsible for making sure that the money is available to fund the UK’s public services and for helping families and individuals with targeted financial support.