Belfast Telegraph

Two quizzed over black market fuel

Two men, one from the Republic and another from Northern Ireland, have been questioned after an HGV carrying thousands of litres of laundered fuel was stopped in Dublin Port.

The 40ft (12m) container, 20,000 litres of the illegal fuel and the truck were searched and impounded after a surveillance operation.

According to Customs officers, the black market load was being exported out of the country when it was intercepted.

The Revenue said it recovered 20 intermediate bulk containers, each holding more than 1,000 litres of the black market fuel, pumps and a fuel metering system concealed in the refrigerated trailer unit.

Two men, one in his 30s from Northern Ireland and another in his 50s from Co Louth, were questioned in relation to the seizure. The Revenue said files on the case were being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The operation at Dublin Port came in a week in which three separate fuel-laundering plants were uncovered in Co Armagh in Northern Ireland.

On Thursday night, police and officers from HM Revenue and Customs raided a number of agricultural and private premises in Concession Road, Crossmaglen. The searches revealed two diesel-laundering plants and the seizure of a large quantity of chemicals used to launder diesel, plus six large-capacity fuel tanks, 16,800 litres of laundered fuel, two vehicles, pumps and other equipment.

More than 10 tonnes of toxic waste also had to be removed from the site. During searches of a domestic property in the area, documents were seized and a 27-year-old man was arrested, then bailed to reappear before the authorities in two weeks.

Mike Norgrove, director at HMRC, attended the operations in Co Armagh. "Every illegal laundering operation has significant environmental and safety issues," he said.

"The indiscriminate dumping of the by-products from the laundering process have been causing severe damage to the environment, as well as placing additional burdens on the taxpayers and local ratepayers who ultimately have to pay for the clean-up and disposal costs."

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