Over 50 tonnes of toxic waste have been 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.

HMRC officers, accompanied by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), searched a number of domestic premises where two laundering plants were uncovered. The third laundering plant was discovered hidden in an agricultural shed nearby.

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

“It is wrong that honest businesses should be undercut by criminals and those involved in making or selling laundered fuel. Buying illicit fuel not only funds crime, it 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 595000.”