HM Revenue and Customs has successfully raided and dismantled two suspected diesel laundering plants operating in the UK, one in Thurrock and the other in Merseyside.
The two suspected laundering plants would be capable of producing around 20 million litres of illegal fuel every year, that would amount to a staggering £12 million of evaded duty.
The discovery of the laundering plants is connected to an investigation by Kent police of the theft of 30,000 liters of fuel from 120 mile long commercial pipelines. These pipelines run below the Deputy Prime Minister’s home in Kent.
In a joint, multi-agency operation last Thursday, HMRC accompanied by Kent Police searched commercial areas in the Thurrock and Upminster areas of Essex where they discovered a plant for laundering fuel.
HMRC also had a joint coordinated search teaming up with the Merseyside Police, where they searched commercial areas and discovered a second laundering plant in an industrial unit in the Bottle are.
Pat Curtis who is the national oils co-ordinator for HMRC, said:
“Every illegal diesel laundering operation typically generates tonnes of toxic waste and robs UK taxpayers by evading fuel duty. Taxpayers are not only missing out on the stolen tax that ends up the pockets of the criminals, but will have to pay the substantial clean-up and disposal costs.
“Buying illicit fuel not only funds crime, it supports and encourages these dangerous activities within our communities and we will continue to work with our
partners in the Police to target this criminality, which costs millions in lost taxes every year.”
The successful operation saw the seizure of over 140,000 litres of laundered fuel, 136 industrial type containers, tanks, tubes and 50 gallon fuel drums which are believed to contain waste products from Upminister, Essex.
In West Thurrock 10,000 litres of diesel in a storage tank, a tanker with 5,000 litres of contaminated diesel, ten 1,000 litre industrial type containers, a 40ft curtain-sider lorry, two other lorries and a van.
In Bootle, Merseyside officials seized 100,000 litres of untested diesel, over thirty 1,000 litre industrial type containers with many of them containing fuel waste, over 60 further containers, products for laundering fuel and a tanker truck.
The investigations into the seizures continue.