An illegal filling station and a laundering plant in Northern Ireland, capable of producing a half a million litres of illicit fuel a year, evading almost £250,000 in lost duty and taxes, have been dismantled by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) officials.

Officers from HMRC and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) searched a business address in the Blackwatertown area of Dungannon on 30 May, where they dismantled the huckster site - an illegal filling station - found to be selling illicit fuel.

In unrelated activity, HMRC and PSNI officers dismantled a laundering plant discovered at a private address in the Fintona area of Co Tyrone.

Forecourt pumps, fuel, tanks and equipment were seized during the operations and investigations are continuing.

Pat Curtis, HMRC’s national oils co-ordinator, said: “Fuel laundering is a dangerous activity. At the laundering plant, fuel was stored, laundered and sold without any safety precautions, endangering any motorist buying fuel there.

“Motorists may think they are getting a bargain buying illicit fuel, but you have no idea what you’re buying, and you can be sure that you are lining the pockets of criminals. We ask anyone with information about this type of activity to contact us on the Customs’ Hotline on 0800 595000.”