Stolen sheep and illegal fuel station discovered

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Forty stolen sheep have been found at an illicit fuel site.

Both the animals and the “huckster site” were discovered at the same time on land in the Draperstown area, the PSNI said on Thursday.

The animals have since been returned to their owner.

Described by police as an “illegal filling station”, the fuel operation stood to the north-west of Draperstown.

In a statement, the PSNI said: “The sheep found at the Drumderg Road premises are believed to have been stolen in the Maghera area between the evening of Tuesday, February 24, and the morning of Wednesday, February 25...

“A 32-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of theft, as well as possession of class B controlled drugs after a quantity of suspected herbal cannabis was also found. He was later released on bail pending further enquiries.”

Pat Curtis, national oils co-ordinator with HMRC, said the operation – which involved HMRC, DARD and the PSNI, “has stopped illicit fuel entering the legitimate market, preventing further revenue loss and helping legitimate traders fight unfair competition”.