73,000 litres of fuel seized

A laundering plant capable of producing more than 16.4 million litres of illegal fuel a year, and potentially evading around £10.6m in taxes and duty, has been dismantled by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Officers from HMRC, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) and the Police Service of Northern Ireland discovered the plant within a tank storage area in Crossmaglen, South Armagh and seized 73,000 litres of fuel. Two tankers, one transit van, and over and underground tanks were also seized, whilst 20 tonnes of toxic waste, which was also found at the site, is being dealt with by the NIEA.

John Whiting, assistant director, criminal investigation, 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.”

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