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Two arrests after raid on illegal laundering plant

Two men from Co Armagh have been arrested by customs officials who seized a number of vehicles at an illegal laundering plant.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) officers and the police searched industrial premises in the Newtownhamilton area yesterday (Thursday).

Pumps, equipment and 27,000 litres of illicit fuel were removed from the site.

The plant was capable of producing over 18 million litres of illicit fuel and evading around £12million in taxes annually.

A flat bed lorry with a concealed tank, believed to have been used to transport illegal fuel, and a number of fuel tankers were seized during the operation.

Both men were questioned by HMRC and have been released on bail. Investigations are ongoing.

John Whiting, Assistant Director, HMRC, said: “Our activity yesterday has stopped a large amount of illicit fuel entering the legitimate market, preventing further revenue loss and helping legitimate traders fight unfair competition. It is wrong that honest businesses should be undercut by criminals and those involved in making or selling laundered fuel. This is organised criminality.

“Buying illicit fuel not only funds crime, it supports and encourages these dangerous activities within our communities. If anyone has information about fuel fraud we would encourage them to contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”

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