Four arrested over fuel laundering

Fuel laundering plants reportedly costing the Government £3.5 million a year in lost tax have been dismantled in Northern Ireland, with four men arrested.

Customs and police uncovered two mobile laundering units and a third one being built in raids at nine premises in Co Tyrone. More than 70,000 litres of fuel, five vehicles, tanks and pumping equipment were recovered during searches in Coalisland, Sixmilecross, Carrickmore, Pomeroy and Dungannon.

Eight tonnes of a bleaching agent to shift dyes and markers from diesel was also impounded.

The mobile plants were a crude attempt to avoid detection and are very dangerous, said John Whiting, assistant director of criminal investigation for Revenue and Customs. "Transporting fuel in this way poses a risk to anyone in the vicinity, with illegal profit the sole motivation.

"The fact that unsecured tanks full of flammable fuel are being driven around on our roads shows utter contempt for the safety of other people."

A large laundering plant was dismantled in the Randalstown area of Co Antrim in an unconnected raid. Authorities removed 1.5 tonnes of toxic waste and equipment from the site which was equipped to produce three million litres of fuel a year.

Copyright © Press Association 2010