Customs swoop on £2.5m fuel fraud operation – Belfast Newsletter

A man has been arrested and a large amount of toxic waste removed from a property in Co Armagh as part of an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs into a suspected £2.5 million fuel fraud.

Officers from HMRC and the Police Service of Northern Ireland searched a residential address on Monday in the Cullyhanna area, where equipment, believed to be a diesel laundering plant, was uncovered in outbuildings.

The plant, with the potential to produce an estimated 5.8 million litres of illicit fuel a year, evading around £2.5 million in taxes and duty, was seized along with 11,000 litres of red diesel and two vehicles.

Around four tonnes of toxic waste was removed from the site.

An 18-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the investigation and has been released on bail.

Inquiries into the suspected fraud are ongoing.

The laundering of red diesel a low-tax fuel primarily for agricultural use has historically involved its filtration through chemicals or acids to remove the government markers, and is then sold on as road fuel to unsuspecting motorists.

Figures for 2013-14 estimate that the revenue loss from illicit use of fuel has now fallen to around £100 million in the UK, of which around half relates to fraud in Northern Ireland.

In percentage terms, the tax gap has fallen from 12% to less than 1% in Great Britain and from 26% to 8% in Northern Ireland.



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