Laundered fuel aimed at export market: HMRC

September 9, 2013

A 61-year-old man was arrested after police and customs uncovered a sophisticated fuel laundering plant in Mayobridge.

The discovery was made after carrying out a planned raid on farmland close to the village on Wednesday morning.

The site contained a conveyor belt which filled six drums at a time, processing millions of litres of fuel a week.

It is believed those behind the fraud had been running the site for about a year at the cost of £15.5m to the public purse in lost revenue.

A 40ft lorry carrying a 20,000 litre tank – thought to be used to bring diesel to the site for laundering – was also seized, as were 24 tonnes of waste by-products from the plant which were found at the side of the road.

Derek Dubery, senior investigations officer with HMRC, said the find was “extremely worrying”.

Describing the plant, he said: “It’s a sophisticated laundering set-up – very unusual in so far as its packaging [was] 25 litres drums of fuel as opposed to the usual bulk containers that we see.  This suggests to us, at this early stage, that this is possibly fuel for export to GB.

“We’ve seen similar detections of unmanifested loads of these types of containers in curtain- sided HGVs transported on the ferries.  And these have been seized in Scotland and in Northern Ireland, on their way out of Northern Ireland,” he added.