A 51-year-old man had been arrested and interviewed by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) officers after the discovery of a fuel laundering plant in County Down, Northern Ireland, yesterday.
The plant, capable of producing around 250,000 litres of illicit fuel a year, was hidden in farm buildings in the Banbridge area. It was dismantled and 750 litres of fuel, a fuel pump and 1,000 litres of waste were seized. In follow-up searches a further 600 litres of fuel, a fuel storage tank, pumping equipment and a taxi were also seized.
John Whiting, assistant director criminal investigation, HMRC, said: “Our activity over the last few weeks has stopped a large amount of laundered fuel entering the legitimate market, preventing further revenue loss and helping our legitimate traders fight unfair competition. The waste products from the laundering process can cause considerable damage to the environment.
“Buying illicit fuel not only funds crime, but also supports and encourages these dangerous activities within our communities. If anyone has information about fuel fraud in their area we would encourage them to contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”
The man has been released on bail after questioning, and investigations are continuing.