Illegal fuel delivery leads to retailer arrest

A 24-year-old man from Antrim was arrested in the middle of March after HMRC accompanied by the PSNI raided a filling station in the Antrim area.

Officers discovered a van with concealed tanks delivering more than 2,000 litres of suspected illegal fuel. Forecourt pumps, an underground storage tank, business records and a small quantity of cash were also seized during the operation.

The man from Antrim was questioned by HMRC officers before being released on bail.

And in a separate development last month, almost 80 tonnes of toxic waste were removed from farm buildings in south Armagh following the discovery of a large diesel laundering plant by HMRC.

The find followed a search of an apparently disused farm in the Cullyhanna area by officers from HMRC accompanied by the PSNI. The laundering plant, capable of producing around 24 million litres of illicit fuel and evading almost £15m in duty and taxes, was dismantled and the waste safely removed.

Illegal fuel, HMRC
HMRC officer at fuel laundering plant

Mike Parkinson, assistant director of criminal investigation for HMRC described the quantity of waste found at the site as “staggering”, and he warned retailers:

“Buying illicit fuel not only funds crime, it also supports and encourages these dangerous activities within our communities. If anyone has information about fuel fraud we would encourage them to contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”

Around the same time, HMRC also seized a 40ft trailer during an operation in south Armagh. A search of the trailer revealed a 33,000-litre fuel tank thought to be used to transport illegal fuel covertly in an attempt to avoid detection.

Investigations are continuing.