CUSTOMS investigators have a dealt a major blow to the black market in selling laundered fuel to the public.
Officers from HM Revenue & Customs seized nearly 7,000 litres of fuel and six forecourt pumps at petrol stations in Co Antrim and Co Armagh on Thursday during intelligence-led operations.
The fuel was recovered as part of an crackdown on those involved in widespread duty fraud at the pump.
HMRC officers visited two retail sites in Newtownabbey and Lurgan where they seized 6,500 litres of red diesel and removed four forecourt pumps.
In Glarryford, officers removed two diesel forecourt pumps and an over ground fuel storage tank from a third retail site, suspected to be selling laundered fuel.
Three private vehicles were seized and restored during the operation.
HMRC assistant director of criminal investigations John Whiting said: “Retailers who knowingly sell red diesel to road users will not only face seizure and removal of fuel and equipment from their premises, but also risk losing their licence to trade in red diesel.
“Selling illicit fuel creates an unfair playing field and seriously undercuts legitimate traders who should be able to operate without the threat of unfair competition.
“Anyone with information on fuel misuse or suspicious activities can contact the Customs’ hotline on 0800 59 5000.”