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Wolverhampton men arrested on suspicion of £800k fuel fraud

Press release   •   May 23, 2014 15:08 BST

Three men from Wolverhampton have been arrested on suspicion of involvement in an £800,000 fuel laundering operation.

Officers from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), assisted by West Midlands Police, undertook searches at two domestic premises and an industrial unit in the city yesterday. The ongoing investigation centres on the purchase of rebated kerosene and its sale to motorists as duty-paid road diesel.

Around 1,500 litres of kerosene was uplifted from the industrial site yesterday, along with storage tanks, a fuel pump and 8,000 fake Viagra tablets. Eight vehicles were seized from people who were using vehicles fuelled by kerosene.

Colin Booker, Assistant Director, HMRC said:

“Using illicit fuel may seem like a bargain, but it deprives the government of tax revenue, and puts honest road fuel retailers at risk. But it’s not just about duty - kerosene can damage a vehicle’s engine, and the process of storing and selling illicit fuel from a makeshift ‘huckster’ site could potentially damage the environment. 

“Anyone with information about fuel fraud can contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”

All three men were questioned and released on bail until August 2014. Investigations are continuing.

Notes for editors

  1. The arrested men are aged 52, 24 and 22.
  2. Kerosene is primary used for heating oil and has a zero duty rate. It contains a chemical marker so that its use for any other purpose or illegal sale can be identified.
  3. The UK and Ireland governments are to bring in a new product to mark rebated fuels, including the off-road diesel commonly known in the UK as ‘red diesel’, in a move that will boost both countries’ fight against illegal fuel laundering. The new marker will be implemented in consultation with the oil industry and other affected sectors and will be used alongside the current marker mix.
  4. HMRC fights fuel fraud on a wide range of fronts, from specialist units performing thousands of roadside checks to raiding laundering plants. This new marker will be a vital tool in the continuing fight against fuel fraud and organised crime.
  5. Follow us on Twitter @hmrcgovuk
  6. HMRC’s Flickr site

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.