Multiple arrests in HMRC fuel fraud raids

Two petrol stations have been raided and seven men and two women from across southern England have been arrested for their involvement in a suspected £3m fuel fraud, during an operation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Around 170 HMRC officers, assisted by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) and Sussex and Hampshire Police, searched 12 residential premises, five business premises and two petrol stations in East and West Sussex, Kent, Essex, Hampshire and Somerset.

The investigation is focused on the suspected illegal purchase and sale of rebated kerosene and biofuel to motorists as duty-paid road diesel. It is believed the fraud is worth an estimated £3m in unpaid excise duty and VAT.

All those arrested were questioned by HMRC investigators and released on bail while enquiries continue.

Meanwhile, in Co Tyrone, a man and a woman have been arrested and nearly 8,000 litres of fuel seized as part of an ongoing HMRC investigation into a suspected VAT and excise fraud worth an estimated £300,000.

HMRC officers, accompanied by the Police Service of Northern Ireland, searched a private address and a retail site in the Cookstown area where they seized computers and business records linked to the fraud investigation.

And a woman has been arrested after a laundering plant, capable of producing nearly 3.6 million litres of illicit fuel a year and evading over £2 million in lost duty and taxes, was discovered by HMRC officers during a search of domestic premises in Co Armagh. Four tonnes of toxic waste was safely removed from the site.

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