11 May 2006

Customs raid illegal fuel plant


Toxic waste from the fuel plant was removed

Customs officers have seized 12,000 litres of contaminated diesel from a fuel laundering plant in County Armagh.

The agency estimated that the plant at Belleeks could have produced 150,000 litres of fuel a week, with a potential loss to the revenue of £3.5m a year.

More than four tonnes of toxic acid waste was removed, some found in an underground concrete slurry pit.

Pat Curtis from HM Revenue and Customs said there was evidence of leakage into the surrounding countryside.

"This is not just about organised criminality, with a few individuals lining their own pockets," he said on Thursday.

"For every 10,000 litres of fuel laundered a tonne of toxic waste is produced which is then indiscriminately dumped in our countryside."

The plant has been dismantled and a number of other items have been seized. No one has been arrested.

It was the second laundering plant to be discovered in Northern Ireland in the past 48 hours.

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