A laundering plant capable of producing more than 16 million litres of illicit fuel a year and potentially evading around £10.6 million in taxes and duty has been dismantled by Customs officers in South Armagh.
Investigators seized 73,000 litres of fuel and found more than 20 tonnes of toxic waste within a tank storage area in Crossmaglen.
John Whiting, assistant director of criminal investigation, said: “Every illegal laundering operation typically generates tonnes of toxic waste, involving significant safety and environmental issues.
“As taxpayers and local ratepayers, not only are we missing out on the stolen tax that ends up the pockets of the criminals, we are also paying the substantial clean-up and disposal costs.
“Buying illicit fuel funds crime and supports and encourages these dangerous activities within our communities. The only winners are the criminals.”
Officers also confiscated two tankers, one Transit-type van, and overground and underground tanks.
Waste is often dumped in the countryside or next to roads in areas chosen for their remoteness.