Three held in fuel laundering probe
Published 21/06/2011 | 16:22
Police and customs officers in Northern Ireland who launched a major operation against organised crime have uncovered a fuel laundering plant, seized a large sum of cash and arrested three men.
There were raids on 13 commercial and private premises in Co Antrim, including in Belfast, as part of the investigation into large-scale fuel fraud, money laundering and VAT fraud.
Officials said they recovered £300,000 in cash, plus a mobile laundering plant, 72,000 litres of illicit fuel, a number of vehicles, pumps and other equipment.
John Whiting, assistant director of customs criminal investigation, said: "This operation is linked to ongoing investigations into the laundering and distribution of illicit fuel across Northern Ireland.
"Those involved in the illegal fuel trade are not providing a public service; it is organised criminality, which impacts on local communities and makes it more difficult for legitimate businesses to compete.
"Most crime is motivated by money. The prevention of money laundering and the seizure of cash and assets stops serious crime and we would urge anyone with information about this or other illegal activity to contact us on 0800 59 5000."
It is understood the three arrested people remain in custody and the investigation is continuing.