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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 December 2004, 16:02 GMT
Customs seize illegal fuel
Illegal fuel plant, Armagh
Laundered fuel is filtered to remove the government marker
Customs officers and police have seized more than 65,000 litres of fuel from commercial premises in County Armagh.

The officers said they were targeting non-compliant fuel distributors and seized green diesel, derv and petrol from storage tanks and a fuel tanker containing green diesel and kerosene.

Meanwhile, Customs and Excise has released details of what it described as the dismantling of "one of the largest fuel laundering plants ever discovered in Northern Ireland".

It was discovered last Wednesday in farm buildings at a rural location in the Jerrettspass area outside Newry, County Down.

This would mean a potential duty loss of 5m - money that could be better spent on public services
Colin McAllister
Customs head of detection

It had the capacity to process about 175,000 litres of diesel per week - an annual tax revenue loss of more than 5m.

Customs head of detection in Northern Ireland, Colin McAllister, said: "This is one of the largest laundering plants that customs has uncovered in Northern Ireland, capable of laundering over 9 million litres of fuel per year.

"This would mean a potential duty loss of 5m - money that could be better spent on public services."

No arrests have been made in relation to either operation, but customs said inquiries were continuing.

Red diesel is a marked fuel for use in agricultural machinery and not for use in road vehicles.

Green diesel is the Republic of Ireland equivalent of the UK's red diesel.

Laundered fuel is red (or green) diesel, which has been filtered through chemicals or acids to remove the government marker.

The chemicals and acids remain in the fuel and damage fuel pumps in diesel cars.

Clampdown on illegal fuel
27 Oct 03 |  Northern Ireland
Illegal fuel plant seized
24 Apr 03 |  UK
Customs seize illegal fuel
14 Feb 03 |  Northern Ireland

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