Illicit fuel plant found in cattle shed

Illicit fuel plant found in cattle shed

A diesel laundering plant, capable of producing over eight million litres of illicit fuel a year, has been found in a cattle shed near Crossmaglen, Co Armagh.

Officers from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), the PSNI and the DOE Environmental Crime Unit searched a farm on Loughross Road on Tuesday and discovered the plant, which was laundering green diesel.Nearly ten tonnes of toxic waste and 1,000 litres of suspected illicit fuel were removed from the site, along with pumps and equipment, during the multi-agency operation.It is estimated that the laundering plant was capable of evading over £5m in lost duty and taxes per year.Pat Curtis, National Oils Co-ordinator of HMRC, said: "The fact that nearly ten tonnes of toxic waste were recovered from a working cattle farm shows a total disregard for the wellbeing and safety of these animals."The individuals involved in this fraud will stop at nothing in order to line their pockets with criminal cash."We will continue to work with our partners in the Organised Crime Task Force to combat this illegal activity."Environment Minister Mark H Durkan described the "reckless" dumping of highly toxic waste products as "totally irresponsible and very dangerous.""It harms communities on a number of levels and shows a total disregard for the environment of Northern Ireland on which we all depend on for our quality of life and livelihoods."The money spent on cleaning up after criminals could be much better spent in Northern Ireland to secure a better environment for the whole community.Environment Minister Mark H DurkanThe SDLP minister said: "This operation was robust and a clear example of co-operation in action by my Department's Crime Unit and law enforcement agencies within the Organised Crime Task Force."While there are many challenges for DOE in dealing with this and other environmental crime issues, I am confident that my officials will continue to play the fullest part possible in tackling this activity."Justice Minister David Ford said that while fuel laundering may seem like a low level crime, those involved usually have interests in other criminal areas, such as drug dealing or counterfeiting."Anyone knowingly buying laundered fuel needs to realise that they are funding criminal gangs who are blight on our community and whose only purpose is to make money illegally," the Alliance leader added."Buying laundered fuel also poses a risk to the owners' car, as the chemicals used in the laundering process can cause extensive engine damage, so saving a few pence now can result in bills of several hundreds of pounds later."Investigations into the seizures are continuing.


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