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Romford man arrested in probe over suspected £3 million red diesel fuel fraud

PUBLISHED: 14:33 24 July 2014

Archant

A Romford man is among nine people arrested in an investigation into a suspected £3 million fuel fraud.

Seven men and two women were arrested and questioned by HM Revenue and Customs investigators as part of the probe into red diesel.

Yesterday, around 170 HMRC officers, assisted by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) and Sussex and Hampshire Police, searched 12 homes, five businesses premises and two petrol stations across the south east.

A 43-year-old man from Romford was arrested, along with a 48-year-old woman from Pulborough, West Sussex.

A 63-year-woman and three men aged 45, 46 and 67 from Hastings, East Sussex, were also arrested, along with two men aged 43 and 46 from Belvedere and a 46-year-old man from Hayling Island, Hampshire,

The ongoing investigation is focused on the suspected illegal purchase and sale of rebated kerosene and biofuel to motorists as duty-paid road diesel.

It is believed the fraud is worth an estimated £3 million in unpaid excise duty and VAT.

David Margree, assistant director of criminal investigation at HMRC, said: “Motorists need to be aware that using illicit fuel can damage and destroy vehicle engines, has a detrimental effect on legitimate fuel traders and deprives the government of money used to fund public services.

“Anyone with information about fuel fraud or people involved in the sale, storage or distribution of illicit fuel can contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”

All those arrested were released on bail while enquiries continue.

Laundered fuel – red diesel or kerosene – 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.

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