Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Arrests linked to alleged £3m fuel fraud

Raids carried out by Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the PSNI in Crossmaglen on Wednesday were part of an ongoing investigation into an alleged fuel smuggling fraud worth an estimated £3m in evaded tax, The Examiner understands.

Two men, aged 37 and 45, were arrested following searches of properties in south Armagh while, at the same time, HMRC officers carried out searches of residential properties in Antrim and Down, as well as business and domestic addresses in Knowsley, Liverpool, Manchester and St Helens.

In total eight arrests were made, three in Merseyside, one in Manchester, one in Co. Down, one in Co. Antrim and two in Co. Armagh.  The men are aged between 34 and 72.

Officials said storage tanks, equipment, 55,000 litres of fuel, computers, a lorry and trailer and a quantity of cash were seized during the operation.

The men have been released on bail while investigations continue.

Sandra Smith, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “Fuel fraud costs millions of pounds in lost duty every year, meaning the public lose out on vital funds for essential services, and it creates an uneven playing field for honest businesses.

“We will continue to work with our partners to tackle this fraud and ask anyone with information about this type of activity to contact the Customs’ Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”