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Gravesend business raided in £1.4million fuel fraud investigation

PUBLISHED: 10:07 29 July 2016 | UPDATED: 10:35 29 July 2016

One of the alleged fuel laundering sites in Essex

One of the alleged fuel laundering sites in Essex

Archant

Seven men have been arrested by HMRC

Fuel laundering plants with the potential to produce three million litres of illicit fuel a year were discovered by HMRC officers this week.

The discovery led to a Gravesend business being stormed by officers at the tax administrator, with other officers sent to addresses in Maldon and Chelmsford.

Four tonnes of toxic waste had to be removed from the sites, when they were discovered on Wednesday.

Seven men have been arrested in connection to the alleged fraud, which could have evaded around £1.4million in revenue.

Fuel launderers try to evade taxes by removing a government dye from red diesel, which is cheaper than regular diesel, but only intended for off-road agricultural use.

The plants, based in warehouses in Essex, had around 36,000 litres of the suspected fuel inside.

Three fuel tankers, two vans and £28,000 in cash were also recovered at the scenes.

Brett Wilkinson, assistant director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “The organised criminals involved in this type of fraud steal millions each year in unpaid duty and taxes, which should be funding public services, not lining their pockets.

“We are determined to take that profit away.

“The toxic waste from fuel laundering poses a real threat to the environment and costs thousands of pounds to dispose of safely.

“Taxpayers are not only missing out on the stolen tax, but we also have to fund the substantial clean up and disposal costs.

“We urge anyone with information about the transport, storage or sale of suspected illicit fuel to contact our 24-hour hotline on 0800 59 5000.”

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