Published Wednesday, 04 September 2013
Officers from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) made the discovery after carrying out a planned raid on farmland close to Mayobridge on Wednesday morning.
The site contained a conveyor belt which filled six drums at a time, processing millions of litres of fuel a week.
It is believed those behind the fraud had been running the site for about a year at the cost of £15.5m to the public purse in lost revenue.
A 40ft lorry carrying a 20,000 litre tank - thought to be used to bring diesel to the site for laundering - was also seized as were 24 tonnes of waste by-products from the plant which were found at the side of the road.
A 61-year-old man has been arrested in connection with discovery and is being questioned.
Derek Dubery, senior investigations officer with HMRC, told UTV that the find was "extremely worrying."
Describing the plant, he said: "It's a sophisticated laundering set-up - very unusual in so far as its packaging [was] 25litres drums of fuel as opposed to the usual bulk containers that we see.
"This suggests to us, at this early stage, that this is possibly fuel for export to GB.
"We've seen similar detections of unmanifested loads of these types of containers in curtain- sided HGVs transported on the ferries - passenger ferries - unmanifested. Imagine how unsafe that is!
"And these have been seized in Scotland and in Northern Ireland, on their way out of Northern Ireland."
He said that it looked like there is a burgeoning market for laundered fuel outside of Northern Ireland, which he described as "extremely worrying."
Mr Dubery added that "greedy criminals" involved in laundering were not doing this to help motorists obtain cheaper fuel, but for one reason only - to get rich.
© UTV News