Press release -
Nine arrested on suspicion of £3 million fuel fraud
Seven men and 2 women from across southern England have been arrested for their involvement in a suspected £3 million fuel fraud, during an operation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
Around 170 HMRC officers, assisted by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) and Sussex and Hampshire Police, searched 12 residential premises, 5 business premises and 2 petrol stations in East and West Sussex, Kent, Essex, Hampshire and Somerset yesterday, 23 July 2014.
The ongoing investigation is focused on the suspected illegal purchase and sale of rebated kerosene and biofuel to motorists as duty-paid road diesel. It is believed the fraud is worth an estimated £3 million in unpaid excise duty and VAT.
David Margree, Assistant Director, Criminal Investigation, HMRC, said:
“Motorists need to be aware that using illicit fuel can damage and destroy vehicle engines, has a detrimental effect on legitimate fuel traders and deprives the government of money used to fund public services.
“Anyone with information about fuel fraud or people involved in the sale, storage or distribution of illicit fuel can contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”
All those arrested were questioned by HMRC investigators and released on bail while enquiries continue.
Notes for editors
1. Details of those arrested:
- 1 woman aged 48 from Pulborough, West Sussex.
- 1 woman aged 63 from Hastings, East Sussex.
- 3 men aged 45, 46 and 67 from Hastings, East Sussex.
- 1 man aged 43 from Romford, Essex.
- 2 men aged 43 and 46, from Belvedere, Greater London.
- 1 man aged 46, from Hayling Island, Hampshire.
2. Laundered fuel is red diesel or kerosene, 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. Follow HMRC Press Office on Twitter @HMRCpressoffice
4. Anyone with information about people or businesses involved in fuel fraud can contact our Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000.
5. HMRC’s Flickr channel www.flickr.com/hmrcgov.uk
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.