Illegal fuel-laundering plant found in Crossmaglen

July 1, 2013

Customs officials have closed down a fuel laundering plant in Crossmaglen, which was capable of producing five million litres of diesel a year.

More than 14 tonnes of toxic waste were also removed from farm buildings where the plant was operating along with pumps, tanks and other equipment.

The illegal operation had the potential to evade the UK Treasury of more than £3 million in tax and duty.

Pat Curtis, HMRC national oils co-ordinator, said: “Every illegal laundering operation typically generates tonnes of toxic waste, which involves significant environmental and safety issues.

“As taxpayers and local ratepayers, not only are we missing out on the stolen tax going into the pockets of the criminals, we are also paying the substantial clean-up and disposal costs. Buying illicit fuel funds crime and supports and encourages these dangerous activities within our communities. The only winners are the criminals.”

HMRC said a forensic investigation was continuing.

Last year HMRC dismantled 22 illegal fuel-laundering plants and seized more than 820,000 litres of illicit fuel worth an estimated £480,000 in evaded revenue.

Latest figures estimate that uncollected revenue from laundered and smuggled diesel in Northern Ireland was approximately £160 million in 2010/11 – 25% of the market share – and an increase on the £70 million for the previous year.