Belfast Telegraph

Three held as Customs raid illegal filling stations

By Lesley-Anne McKeown

Three people have been arrested after Customs officials swooped on illegal filling stations.

Two men and a woman were detained and more than 2,000 litres of illicit fuel, forecourt pumps and other equipment seized during the large scale operation in Belfast and Co Armagh to tackle suspected fuel fraud. John Whiting, assistant director of criminal investigation, HM Revenue and Customs, 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.”

Two filling stations in west Belfast and Lurgan were removed. A computer, documents and business records were also recovered after Customs officers and police searched three houses. The three arrested were being questioned by HMRC and a spokeswoman said investigations were continuing.

In unconnected activity, a Co Tyrone man was arrested after the discovery of a diesel laundering plant in Coalisland. He has since been released pending further enquiries.

The plant, hidden in a shed at a private address, was capable of producing 1.4 million litres of illicit fuel a year, evading almost £950,000 in revenue.

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