HMRC closes fuel laundering site

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, searched an industrial site on the outskirts of Newry on 9 January. At the facility, 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 a 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, at HMRC, said: “Fuel launderers abandon harmful waste and transport fuel in vehicles that are unfit for purpose and unsafe. We believe criminals are experimenting with processes that carry a risk of explosion as they seek to defeat fuel markers.”

The men arrested were questioned by HMRC and have been released on bail. Investigations are ongoing.

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