Fuel laundering costs higher in NI

Published Tuesday, 27 March 2012
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Three times more illegal fuel is sold in Northern Ireland than in other parts of the UK because of paramilitary and criminal gang activity.

Fuel laundering costs higher in NI
Fuel laundering is estimated to have cost NI £70 million in revenue in 2009-10. (© Getty)

A report from the House of Commons Northern Ireland Affairs Committee found fuel crime has a disproportionate impact in the region and higher priority must be given to fighting it.

The committee found although HMRC allocated an additional £917m in 2010-11 to clamp down on tax avoidance and evasion across the UK, it should make a more concerted effort to eradicate the problem in Northern Ireland.

Laurence Robertson, Chair of the Committee said: "Fuel fraud is carried out by organised criminal gangs, some of which have paramilitary links and are engaged in the most serious crimes: drugs, human trafficking and money laundering. Buying and selling illicit fuel funds these activities."

It is thought that 12% of diesel sold in the region is illicit, compared to 4% in Great Britain, and district councils have paid out £330,000 in the last five years to clean up the harmful waste products left by laundering.

However, only four people received custodial sentences for fuel fraud in the region between 2001 and 2009.

And the committee said it is concerned that the limited success of assets recovery does not act as a deterrent, while the lack of progress on developing new 'markers', such as those that change the colour of red diesel, has been labelled "disappointing".

"We would urge [HMRC] to make a more concerted effort to eradicate the problem of fuel crime in Northern Ireland, where it is most prevalent. Not enough of these criminals are being brought to justice, and certainly relative to the situation in Great Britain, yet arguably greater harm is being caused in Northern Ireland," added Mr Robertson.

The committee has called for HMRC to focus its efforts on finding the latest technology in marking rebated diesel and report back before the summer.

© UTV News
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9 Comments
CrimlinT in Not Lurgan wrote (755 days ago):
Mike in Lurgan. Still posting stupid, grammatically incorrect, misspelt comments. Get a life. Copy to the Beano, the Dandy, The Beezer and Sesame St.
Ulysses32 in Belfast wrote (756 days ago):
It's still Al Jazeera, Peter..or mike, or whatever your name is. Incidentally RTE1 & 2 are the same broadcasting company and "This Morning show" is hardly a groundbreaking news programme. Do you copy your comments to "The Jeremy Kyle Show" as well? UTV won't publish your comments? Your hardly Bob Woodward or Carl Bernstein coming from Lurgan, sorry Belfast....
PETER in BELFAST wrote (757 days ago):
Totaly agree with all the comments sure BP shell Exon pay their staff in Iraq massive wages per day tats whatthe war was all about OIL ! I know FOR A FACT that one company alone pays its EXPAT rig managers A MINIMUM £400 A DAY , OFFICE STAFF GET £1000 yes £1000 A DAY !! TO SIT IN NICE AIRCON offices no wonder fuels so high ! Thta sonly the tip what do higher CEOs get much like the BANKERS !! We have paid here in NI way over the odds for everything its about time the ASSEMBLY STOOD UP TO LONDON and told them where to go UTV wont print this as again its seen as teh truth and truth hurts anyway if they dont im copying it to BBC NI.NOLAN SHOW ,RTE 1 RTE 2 SKY NEWS ,AL JEZZERA , THIS MORNING SHOW , THE WRIGHT SHOW NEWSLETTER BT. COPY TO FILE
dc in mid ulster wrote (758 days ago):
easy way to fix this problem is to lower the cost of fuel!! it is the high cost of fuel which is giving these people the market to sell what they are producing.
Seán in Newcastle wrote (758 days ago):
It's a higher percentage, but that doesn't mean there is more actual illicit fuel being sold. So that's a lie you have told to get people to read the story.
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