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Man arrested in Hornchurch during fuel fraud raids

PUBLISHED: 12:16 29 July 2016 | UPDATED: 12:19 29 July 2016

Seven men have been arrested by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and four tonnes of toxic waste removed after two fuel laundering plants were discovered in Essex on Wednesday Picture: HMRC

Seven men have been arrested by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and four tonnes of toxic waste removed after two fuel laundering plants were discovered in Essex on Wednesday Picture: HMRC

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Seven men, including one in Hornchurch, have been arrested and four tonnes of toxic waste removed after two fuel laundering plants were discovered in Essex on Wednesday.

As part of a multi-agency investigation into a suspected £1.4million fuel fraud, more than 50 officers from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the Environment Agency, searched three business and six residential addresses in south Essex and Kent.

The two laundering plants discovered had the potential to produce three million litres of illicit fuel a year, evading an estimated £1.4m in duty and taxes.

The laundering plants have been dismantled and 36,000 litres of suspected laundered fuel seized, along with three fuel tankers, two vans and £28,000 cash.

The seven men arrested, include a 61-year-old arrested in Hornchurch, two men aged 55 and 31 arrested in Purfleet, a 58-year-old arrested in Brentwood, a 50-year-old arrested in east London, and two men aged 46 and 55 arrested in Ilford.

All have been questioned and bailed while investigations continue.

Brett Wilkinson, assistant director of HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service, said: “Laundering fuel is a serious crime which HMRC is determined to tackle.

“The organised criminals involved in this type of fraud steal millions each year in unpaid duty and taxes, which should be funding public services, not lining their pockets. We are determined to take that profit away.

“The toxic waste from fuel laundering poses a real threat to the environment and costs thousands of pounds to dispose of safely. Taxpayers are not only missing out on the stolen tax, but we also have to fund the substantial clean up and disposal costs.”

Anyone with information about the transport, sale or storage of suspected illicit fuel is asked to contact the HRMC hotline on 0800 59 5000.

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