Almost 30 tonnes of toxic waste have been recovered after the discovery of a diesel laundering plant in South Armagh by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) on December 4.

Officers from HMRC, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) discovered the laundering plant, capable of producing 7.2 million litres of illicit fuel a year and evading £4.7m in taxes and duty, hidden in an industrial unit at a private address in Meigh.

John Whiting, assistant director, criminal investigation, HMRC, said: “The toxic waste uncovered during this operation poses a real threat to the environment and costs thousands of pounds to dispose of. As taxpayers and local rate payers, not only are we missing out on the stolen tax that ends up the pockets of the criminals, we are paying these 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.”

Pumps and equipment were removed during the operation and investigations are continuing.