Toxic waste taken from Armagh fuel laundering site

December 4, 2012

By Christine Keighery

A fuel laundering plant in Cullyhanna was discovered last Tuesday, following a search of a number of sheds at a private address in a joint operation by PSNI and HMRC officers.

The plant was dismantled after more than six tonnes of toxic waste was removed from the site.

HM revenue and Customs say the operation was capable of producing five million litres of illicit fuel, evading £4 million in taxes.

Speaking after the successful raid, HMRC national oils co-ordinator, Pat Curtis 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,” he said.

“Buying illicit fuel funds crime and supports and encourages these dangerous activities within our communities.”

Pumps and equipment were removed from the site and investigations into those behind the operation are continuing.

This latest discovery comes in the same week as a meeting between Newry and Mourne councillors, customs and the PSNI took place to  discuss preventative measures in the clampdown against fuel laundering.

Sinn Fein councillor Packie McDonald, speaking after last Monday’s meeting, said,

“There has been a huge increase in the amount of fuel waste dumped in the Newry and Mourne District.  2012 has been the worst year so far, with 700,000 litres of waste found. When the meeting was being held it was revealed that there was another fuel waste find discovered on the Longfield road, Newry.  This serious issue needs to be addressed.

“Those that carry out these acts have not taken into consideration the damage that it can cause to the environment or the huge amount of money it costs the taxpayers to pay for the removal of the toxic waste.

“This meeting today was useful because steps to prevent this from happening were discussed, such as tightening up on the supply of red and green diesel.”