EIGHT MEN, including three from Ireland, have been arrested as part of an investigation into fuel laundering fraud by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
Three men, aged 26, 34 and 37, from Co. Armagh, Northern Ireland were detained along with five others from England after around 150 officers raided business and residential addresses in the Hayes, Romford, Southend, Thurrock, Tonbridge, Southend and Watford on June 28.
Police also seized toxic waste and equipment believed to be a diesel laundering plant.
The laundering plant, with the potential to produce an estimated seven million litres of illicit fuel a year evading £3million in revenue, was dismantled and around 100,000 litres of suspected laundered red, agricultural diesel seized along with a range of commercial and private vehicles as well as more specialised equipment used in the laundering process.
Diesel laundering waste is often dumped indiscriminately in the countryside, or next to the road, with no care for the pollution it can cause to land or waterways.
Laundered fuel is red (or green) diesel, which has been filtered through chemicals or acids in an attempt to remove the Government markers.
Figures for 2013-14 estimate that the revenue loss from illicit use of fuel has now fallen to around £50million in Britain.
“Laundering fuel is a serious crime, which HMRC is determined to tackle. Around £100million in unpaid duty and taxes is lost each year to fuel fraud in the UK, money that should be helping fund public services"
We are determined to take that profit away," said John Cooper HMRC's Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service.
The eight men arrested were interviewed by HMRC and have been released under investigation. Inquiries into the suspected fraud are ongoing.