CUSTOMS chiefs in the Republic have smashed diesel laundering plants producing up to 15 million litres of fuel a year.
Two mobile oil laundering plants – and a number of vehicles – have been seized in Dundalk, Co Louth.
Officers from the Irish Revenue’s Customs Service made the discovery early on Thursday morning at Ravensdale Park.
A potential loss to the exchequer has been estimated at €8m per annum.
At first, a mobile laundry, four lorries – one of which had a concealed tank for transporting fuel – and three oil tankers were found and seized by officers along with 8,000 litres of fuel and ancillary equipment.
Three tonnes of toxic waste were also uncovered by officials at the scene.
Then, after searching a private residence and adjoining yard, a slurry tank adapted for use as a mobile oil laundry was uncovered.
Three cars, two jeeps and one van at the site were seized by officers as well as 100 bags of bleaching earth for use in the laundering process and 6,000 litres of fuel were seized.
The Revenue officials were supported by the armed Regional Support Unit of the Gardaí as well as the force’s local officers.
Investigations are ongoing.
A statement from the Irish Revenue’s Customs Service said: “Revenue would like to take this opportunity to remind motorists and the public that they should be aware of the risks posed to their vehicles by using laundered fuel.”