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Romford man arrested as part of investigation into fuel laundering

PUBLISHED: 17:37 29 June 2017

Tanks used to store the fuel. Pic: HMRC.

Tanks used to store the fuel. Pic: HMRC.

Archant

A 52-year-old man from Romford has been arrested during raids into alleged fuel laundering.

Fuel laundering equipment. Pic: HMRC.Fuel laundering equipment. Pic: HMRC.

On Wednesday approximately 150 officers from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) carried out searches at 20 business and residential addresses in Romford, Hayes, Southend, Thurrock, Tonbridge and Watford.

Officers seized diesel laundering equipment, and removed a large amount of toxic waste during the raids which led to the arrest of eight men in total.

The plant was dismantled by detectives, who also seized roughly 100,000 litres of what is thought to be illicit red agricultural diesel.

Several commercial and private vehicles and specialised equipment, used in the laundering process, were also recovered.

The plant had the potential to produce roughly 7 million litres of fuel which would have cheated the taxman out of £3m in revenue.

The assistant director of HMRC fraud investigation service said: “Laundering fuel is a serious crime, which HMRC is determined to tackle. Around £100 million in unpaid duty and taxes is lost each year to fuel fraud in the UK, money that should be helping fund public services.

“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.

“We urge anyone with information about the transport, storage or sale of suspected illicit fuel to contact our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”

The eight men arrested have been released under investigation whilst inquiries into the suspected fraud are ongoing.

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