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Customs bust illegal fuel plant and filling station

An illegal filling station and fuel laundering plant — suspected of selling illicit fuel for only £1.11 a litre — have been dismantled by HM Revenue and Customs in Co Tyrone.

Officers from HMRC and the PSNI carried out searches of industrial units in the Mountfield area of Omagh on Tuesday.

Inside one of the units they discovered a large-scale fuel laundering plant capable of producing nearly six million litres of illicit diesel a year. A second unit contained a storage tank and a fuel pump suspected of being used to sell the illicit fuel.

Pat Curtis, national oils co-ordinator for HMRC, said: “This site was selling fuel at a price that is not economically viable.

“Anyone thinking of buying this fuel needs to consider where their money is going, instead of funding public services.

“Buying this fuel is financing and encouraging criminality in their own communities. Buying fuel at this price is an offer that seems too good to be true, and that’s exactly what it is.

“Every illegal laundering operation typically generates tonnes of toxic waste which, as taxpayers and ratepayers, we are all paying to clean up and dispose of.

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“At this site eight tonnes of toxic waste had to be recovered. I would urge anyone with information on fuel misuse in their area to contact our free telephone hotline on 0800 59 5000 and contribute to the fight against this criminality.”

Around 14,000 litres of illicit fuel, a forklift truck and 14 metal cylinders used in the laundering process were removed during the operation. Investigations are continuing.

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