Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Suspended sentences for lorry drivers convicted of diesel fraud

Two lorry drivers have received suspended jail sentences, having been convicted for their part in a sophisticated diesel fraud.

Eric Murray (52) of Carrickasticken Road, Forkhill pleaded guilty to multiple charges of diesel fraud carried out on dates from October 2014 to November 2016. He was sentenced at Newry Crown Court to 18 months, suspended for two years.  

Stephen Watters (37), of Malachy Conlon Park, Culloville also pleaded guilty to knowingly evading duty on hydrocarbon oils June 29 2016.  He was sentenced to seven months suspended for two years.

An investigation by Revenue and Customs found that seventeen different vehicles were used to transport significant amounts of diesel across the border from Dublin to Belfast, evading tax duty.  And while more than 100 collections of diesel were under suspicion by Customs, the end location could not be determined.

The court heard that two other suspects are due to be questioned as part of the fraud investigation, and that CCTV footage and phone triage were used to identify Murray and Watters, along with the amount of transports each carried out.