A filling station suspected of supplying illicit fuel, an illegal laundering site and a lorry equipped to transport illegal fuel have been uncovered in separate investigations in Northern Ireland carried out by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
A 24-year-old man was arrested after officers from HMRC and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) raided a filling station in the Antrim area on Monday (24 March). Officers discovered a van with concealed tanks delivering more than 2,000 litres of suspected illegal fuel.
Forecourt pumps, an underground storage tank, business records and a small quantity of cash were also seized during the operation. The man was questioned by HMRC officers and has been released on bail.
In south Armagh, nearly 80 tonnes of toxic waste have been removed from farm buildings after HMRC discovered a large diesel laundering plant.
HMRC and PSNI officers searched a disused farm in the Cullyhanna area on Tuesday, and found a laundering plant capable of producing around 24 million litres of illicit fuel and evading almost £15m in lost duty and taxes every year. It was dismantled and the waste safely removed.
Mike Parkinson, assistant director, criminal investigation, HMRC, said: “The volume of toxic waste we uncovered at this laundering plant is staggering and shows the total disregard that these criminals have for the environment. We have also stopped a large amount of illicit fuel entering the legitimate market, preventing further revenue loss and helping legitimate traders fight unfair competition
“Buying illicit fuel not only funds crime, it also 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.”
On Friday, 21 March, HMRC also seized a 40-foot trailer during an operation in south Armagh. A search of the trailer revealed a 33,000 litre fuel tank thought to be used to covertly transport illegal fuel in an attempt to avoid detection.
Investigations are continuing.