Eight men have been arrested and 55,000 litres of fuel seized, as part of an ongoing investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) into a suspected fuel smuggling fraud worth an estimated £3 million in evaded tax.
HMRC officers searched one business and four domestic addresses in Knowsley, Liverpool, Manchester and St Helens. Simultaneously, in Northern Ireland HMRC and officers from the Police Service of Northern Ireland carried out searches of six domestic addresses in counties Antrim, Armagh and 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. We will continue to work with our partners to tackle this fraud and ask anyone with information about this type of activity to contact the Customs’ Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”
Storage tanks, equipment, 55,000 litres of fuel, a quantity of cash, computers, business records, a lorry and a trailer were seized during the operation. Seven men have been released on bail and investigations continue.