Two men have been arrested and a suspected fuel laundering facility dismantled as part of an HMRC investigation into what is believed to be a multi-million pound fraud.
HMRC officers, supported by Police Service of Northern Ireland, carried out a search of an industrial address on the outskirts of Newry on 9 January. At the site, 45,000 litres of fuel was seized, along with six large tanks, one rigid truck containing a 20,000 litre tank, a transit van, one 40ft fridge trailer, a 40ft curtainsided trailer and one car.
The suspected laundering plant had the potential to produce in excess of 10 million litres of illicit fuel a year, with the potential loss of £6.5m in revenue.
Steve Tracey, assistant director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “Fuel launderers abandon harmful waste and transport fuel in vehicles that are unfit for purpose and unsafe.
“We believe criminals are now experimenting with processes that carry a risk of explosion as they seek to defeat fuel markers.” The two men arrested were questioned by HMRC and have been released on bail. Investigations into the fraud are ongoing.