PLANNED Customs raids have dismantled eight laundering plants with the capacity to produce over 53million litres of diesel a year.
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) carried out the intelligence-led searches over the last three weeks against a number of criminal gangs
An illegal filling station selling laundered fuel has also been taken apart.
Working with the PSNI, HMRC uncovered the fuel laundering plants in counties Armagh, Londonderry and Tyrone.
Together they could have evaded an estimated £34 million in taxes and duty every year.
One man was arrested and has been released on bail pending further enquiries.
In unconnected activity an illegal filling station or “huckster” site was dismantled on Thursday, June 6 6 June by HMRC as part of ongoing operations to tackle commercial fuel tax evasion across Northern Ireland.
HMRC, assisted by PSNI officers, removed the huckster site from waste ground in west Belfast and seized almost 3,000 litres of suspected illicit fuel.
Fuel storage tanks, a pump, a portable office and a storage container were also removed.
John Whiting, from HMRC said: “Our activity over the last few weeks has stopped a large amount of laundered fuel entering the legitimate market, preventing further revenue loss and helping our legitimate traders fight unfair competition.
“It is wrong that honest businesses should be undercut by criminals and those involved in making or selling laundered fuel, this is organised criminality.
“Buying illicit fuel not only funds crime, it supports and encourages these dangerous activities within our communities.
“If anyone has information about fuel fraud in their area we would encourage them to contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”
Justice Minister David Ford congratulated both the HMRC and PSNI for their efforts tackling fuel laundering.
He added: “People across our community need to realise that by buying illegal fuel, while they may be saving a few pounds, could potentially be running themselves into larger bills down the line by damaging their engines.
“Also, the reckless dumping of the laundering waste products can cause environmental damage.
“Dumped waste can cause pollution, as well as being harmful to people. Profit from fuel laundering could be used to finance other types of criminality such as drug dealing and human trafficking.”