Over 50 tonnes of toxic waste have been removed after three fuel laundering plants were found by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in the Cullaville area of South Armagh today.
Between them, the three plants had the potential to produce 26 million litres of illicit fuel a year, evading £18 million in revenue.
HMRC officers, accompanied by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), searched a number of domestic premises where two laundering plants were uncovered. The third laundering plant was discovered hidden in an agricultural shed nearby.
Pat Curtis, National Oils Coordinator, HMRC, said:
“Every illegal laundering operation typically generates tonnes of toxic waste, creating significant safety and environmental issues. As taxpayers and local ratepayers, not only are we missing out on the stolen tax that ends up in the pockets of the criminals, we are also paying the substantial clean-up and disposal costs.
“It is wrong that honest businesses should be undercut by criminals and those involved in making or selling laundered fuel. Buying illicit fuel not only funds crime, it supports and encourages these dangerous activities within our communities. If anyone has information about fuel fraud we would encourage them to contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”
In unconnected activity, three filling stations suspected of selling illicit fuel were raided by HMRC yesterday and 2,300 litres of fuel were seized.
HMRC officers tested the fuel in the forecourt tanks and all three stations are believed to be selling illicit fuel. Tests on the fuel seized are ongoing.
Notes for editors
1. Diesel laundering waste is often dumped indiscriminately in the countryside or next to the road with no care for the pollution it can cause to land or waterways. Typically the waste is dumped in agricultural areas or forests, chosen for their remoteness to avoid detection.
2. 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.
3. HMRC’s Flickr channel: www.flickr.com/hmrcgovuk
4. Follow HMRC on Twitter at @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.