Three men from counties Antrim and Londonderry were arrested and a mobile fuel laundering plant was seized by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) yesterday afternoon.
HMRC officers, assisted by the Police Service of Northern Ireland, carried out searches at a commercial yard in Co Antrim, where they uncovered the plant capable of producing 4.3 million litres of illicit fuel a year.
Officers removed two large tanks chained to the inside of the trailer along with pumps and equipment used in the laundering process. Almost two and a half tonnes of toxic waste and 4,000 litres of red diesel were also recovered after searches of sheds in the yard.
John Whiting, Assistant Director Criminal Investigation, HMRC, said:
“Fuel tankers are designed to transport fuel safely. These tanks carrying diesel were simply chained to the trailer, showing a total disregard for other road users and posing an enormous public safety risk.
“Buying illicit fuel not only funds crime, but also supports and encourages these dangerous activities within our communities. I would encourage anyone who has information about fuel fraud in their area to contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”
The three men were questioned by HMRC and have been released on bail. 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. 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.