FOUR Northern Irishmen have been arrested for their part in a suspected fuel smuggling fraud worth an estimated £3million in evaded tax.
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) seized a total of 55,000 litres of fuel during the on-going investigation, as well as storage tanks, equipment, a quantity of cash, computers, business records, a lorry and a trailer.
A 56-year-old man from Co. Down, a 47-year-old man from Co. Antrim, and a 37-year-old and 45-year-old from Co. Armagh were among the eight men arrested and now bailed.
The remaining men included a 34-year-old, a 54-year-old man and a 72-year-old from Merseyside and a 37-year-old from Manchester.
HMRC officers searched one business and four home addresses in Knowsley, Liverpool, Manchester and St Helens.
Simultaneously in the North of Ireland, HMRC and officers from the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) carried out searches of six home addresses in counties Co. Antrim, Co. Armagh and Co. Down.
Sandra Smith, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “Fuel fraud costs millions of pounds in lost duty every year, meaning the public lose out on vital funds for essential services, and it creates an uneven playing field for honest businesses.”
Anyone with information about this type of activity should contact the Customs’ Hotline on 0800 59 5000.