SDLP Councillor Thomas O’Hanlon has welcomed the announcement by Environment Minister Alex Attwood MLA that he is to invest a further £1.5million in tackling fuel laundering crime.
Councillor O’Hanlon said: “Over recent months I have been in constant contact with the Environment Minister about the scourge that is Fuel Laundering and its waste which has been constantly dumped in the Crossmore area.
“Communities in Granemore, Darkley, Carnagh and Derrynoose and indeed beyond are sick sore and tired of their area being targeted by those involved in this crime. All too often communities waken up to see cubes of waste fuel sludge dumped in their areas.
‘This week Alex Attwood announced an additional £1.5m package to fund the on-going work his department is doing to catch those responsible.
“The funding will see purchase of overt and covert surveillance equipment for use where appropriate and where waste crime is suspected; the purchase of specialist vehicles and surveying equipment; more staff on the ground, more visits, verifying the legitimate origins and destinations of waste flows; specialist forensic accountancy and computer forensics contracts to analyse financial matters believed to be connected with serious waste crime; additional staffing to progress action against hauliers found to be using or procuring illegal fuel or found to be involved in the illegal management of waste and additional contracts to managing the clean-up of fuel laundering waste.
“At a time when our public services are being hit by spending cuts, it is terrible that money has to be directed to deal with such a crime. This money could be spent in schools or hospitals but we need to tackle this crime once and for all.
“Local communities have been crying out for action and I am delighted the Minister has listened to the concerns of the people of this area.”