Friday 23 March 2018

Fuel laundering plants capable of producing 15 million litres of diesel found

David Young

TWO fuel laundering plants capable of producing 15 million litres of illegal diesel every year have been uncovered in Co Armagh.

Selling that volume of fuel on the black market would equate to an annual revenue evasion of almost £9m.

The two unrelated plants were raided by the police and HM Revenue and Customs officers in a joint operation yesterday.

The first was hidden in a shed at a private address in Cullyhanna, while the second was discovered at a private address in Middletown.

Three tonnes of toxic waste (the by-product of the laundering process), 1,000 litres of illicit fuel, a tanker, pumps and equipment were seized from the plants.

Officers also removed computers from a house on the Cullyhanna site.

Beth Smith, deputy director, HMRC specialist investigations, said: "Every illegal laundering operation has significant environmental and safety issues.

"These operations typically generate tonnes of toxic waste, which is often dumped indiscriminately in the countryside.

"So as taxpayers and local ratepayers, not only are we missing out on the tax, which is going into the pockets of the criminals, we are also paying the substantial clean-up and disposal costs.

"Buying illicit fuel not only funds crime but supports and encourages these dangerous activities within our communities.

"The only winners are the criminals, who are profiting at the expense of honest businesses and endangering the future viability of our legitimate fuel retail service."

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