A SUSPECTED fuel laundering plant in Co. Armagh has been shut down following raids on premises across Britain and Northern Ireland.
Three men have been arrested as part of the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigation into a suspected multi-million pound fuel fraud.
It follows simultaneous searches of nine business and four residential addresses in Stoke, Crewe, Manchester, Surrey, Gloucestershire, Devon and Northern Ireland last Thursday, September 13.
More than 50 HMRC officers carried out the searches, with support from North Wales Police and the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
Around 22,500 litres of fuel was seized from the suspected fuel laundering plant at a residential premise in south Armagh.
It’s believed the site had the capacity to produce 20million litres of illicit fuel a year, potentially evading £11million in revenue.
A further 6,500 litres of suspected laundered fuel was recovered from a retail site in Greater Belfast.
“The illicit trade in laundered fuel is a serious crime and one we are determined to detect and disrupt,” said Tracey Noon, Assistant Director of HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service.
“We remain alert to the often dangerous methods and efforts of criminals to remove the government markers from rebated fuel.”
The three men arrested were a 31-year-old in Belfast, a 31-year-old in Crewe and a 37-year-old in Surrey.
After questioning by HMRC they were released pending further enquiries. Investigations are ongoing.