A laundering plant capable of producing more than 9.1 million litres of illicit fuel a year and potentially evading around £5.9m in taxes and duty has been dismantled by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Officers from HMRC and the Police Service of Northern Ireland searched premises in the Kilnasaggart Road area of South Armagh and discovered the laundering plant inside an agricultural shed. Officers also found more than 10 tonnes of toxic waste at the site.

Pat Curtis, national oils coordinator for HMRC, said: “Every illegal laundering operation typically generates tonnes of toxic waste, involving significant safety and environmental issues. As taxpayers and local ratepayers, not only are we missing out on the stolen tax that ends up the pockets of the criminals, we are also paying the substantial clean-up and disposal costs.

“Buying illicit fuel funds crime and supports and encourages these dangerous activities within our communities. The only winners are the criminals. I would urge anyone with information on fuel misuse in their area to contact our free telephone hotline on 0800 59 5000 and contribute to the fight against this criminality.”

Officers also seized pumps and other equipment associated with the fuel laundering process, along with two commercial vehicles.