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Dawn swoop on illegal diesel operation 24.01.08

AN ALLEGED diesel laundering plant has been uncovered by customs officials in a dawn swoop in east Donegal.
The discovery was made at a petrol service station by Revenue officers assisted by their colleagues from the Special Compliance District in Sligo. During the search, officers discovered a man in the process of discharging laundered diesel from a lorry into an underground 20,000 litre storage tank. They also found a sophisticated electronic switching system buried under a layer of gravel which which was designed to allow the diesel pumps to be fed from the concealed tank or from the regular tanks.
The steel bodied lorry had been specially adapted by the fitting of a false floor which enabled the carriage of 4,500 litres of fuel. The lorry was loaded with bags of peat moss allegedly as concealment. Both the filling pipes and discharge pipes were well hidden, the investigators say. The lorry and approx 6,000 litres of fuel were detained and removed from the premises. A man has been questioned and a file will be forwarded to the DPP in due course.
A Revenue spokesman said: "Laundering or 'washing' of red or green diesel defrauds the state of excise duty and VAT. People also need to be aware of the environmental and safety issues surrounding the laundering of diesel.
"They need to consider what happens to the waste by-product and the damage caused by contamination to arable land and our waters and rivers."
The spokesman continued: "Chemicals used during the laundering process remain in the oil and can cause severe damage over a period to vehicle engines and fuel pumps. We urge members of the public to contact their nearest Revenue office if they know of any fuel misuse or suspicious activity in their area."
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