HM Revenue and Customs have busted an industrial scale fuel laundering plant in Northern Ireland. Customs officials and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) seized six large fuel storage tanks, 37,000 litres of illicit fuel and 1,000 litres, as well as associated equipment and 21,000 of toxic waste. It is estimated that the laundering plant could have cost £20 million in lost tax revenue per year. By taking red diesel for agricultural use and chemically removing the government marker, the perpetrators can sell the laundered fuel at a lower price, avoiding the petrol tax.
Counterfeiting of designer sunglasses and handbags is a well understood problem, but the dangers of buying laundered fuel can be significant. HMRC have clearly done well to shut down this particular operation.