Illegal fuel plant dismantled, man arrested

Customs officials have dismantled a suspected fuel laundering plant in the Coalisland area. INTT4812-077X

Customs officials have dismantled a suspected fuel laundering plant in the Coalisland area. INTT4812-077X

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CUSTOMS officials have removed around 3,000 litres of illicit fuel from a suspected fuel laundering plant in the Coalisland area.

One man was arrested, and has since been released, following the operation, which took place on Thursday.

It is understood the plant was hidden in a shed at a private address in the Coole Road area.

A spokeswoman for HM Revenue and Customs told the Tyrone Times the plant was capable of producing 1.4 million litres of illicit fuel a year, and evading almost £950,000 in lost revenue.

Over two tonnes of toxic waste, as well as pumps and equipment, were removed from the site.

Meanwhile, also on Thursday, two men and a woman were arrested in an unconnected operation, during which two illegal filling stations in Belfast and Lurgan were dismantled.

Three domestic properties were searched, and a computer, documents and business records seized.

John Whiting, Assistant Director Criminal Investigation, with HMRC said:

“The huckster sites we dismantled today were operating at an unfair advantage over legitimate filling stations by selling illegal fuel at a reduced rate.

“It is wrong that honest businesses should be undercut by criminals and we are targeting those individuals and groups doing most economic harm in our communities.

“We continue to work closely with our colleagues in the Organised Crime Task Force (OCTF) to stop the damage this criminal activity causes.

“We would encourage anyone with information about activity they suspect may be linked to fuel fraud to contact our Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”