HMRC has started the roll-out of new road-side fuel-testing equipment across the UK to tackle the trade in illicit diesel. It will be used to check fuel both at the roadside and on dealers’ forecourts.

Treasury minister Damian Hinds visited Belfast and Newry as HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) unveiled the new equipment.

It has been introduced to allow officers to test vehicles at the roadside for the presence of the new fuel marker, which was introduced into supplies intended for use in agriculture and construction industries in April.

Previously, the test for the new marker was completed at a laboratory, leading to a delay in identifying illicit fuel and further action being taken.

The new equipment will now be installed in HMRC Road Fuel Testing Unit vehicles throughout the UK by early 2016.