Customs officers have revealed three major victories in the battle against illicit fuel in Northern Ireland.

In the space of a single day they announced they had shut down three fuel laundering plants, discovered suspected illicit fuel on three forecourts and seized 20,000 litres of suspected laundered fuel being transported by a man from Northern Ireland.

Over 50 tonnes of toxic waste were removed after three fuel laundering plants were found by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in the Cullaville area of South Armagh on Thursday February 20.

Between them, the three plants had the potential to produce 26 million litres of illicit fuel a year, evading £18m in revenue.

On the same day three petrol filling stations suspected of selling illicit fuel, were raided by HMRC, and nearly 2,500 litres of fuel were seized.

A spokeswoman said HMRC was unable to identify the sites as tests on the fuel that was seized are continuing.

She said: "HMRC has a rolling programme of visits to retail sites and fuel suppliers as well as targeting illicit filling stations, known as huckster sites."

A day earlier a 23-year-old man from Northern Ireland was arrested after HMRC seized almost 20,000 litres of suspected laundered fuel, in a load of fish, at Gladstone Docks in Liverpool.