MORE THAN 14 tonnes of toxic waste have been removed from a diesel laundering plant in Jonesborough.
The plant, capable of producing 25 million litres of illicit fuel, was shut down by HM Revenue and Customs and was evading an estimated £18 million in taxes and duty a year.
Revenue officers searched the plant, located on an industrial unit, this morning (Wednesday) and found large underground tanks being used to launder green diesel.
A substantial amount of the illicit fuel, a 40foot tanker and a quantity of bleaching earth – used in the laundering process – were also found and removed.
John Whiting, Assistant Director of Criminal Investigation for HMRC, told UTV that underground laundering poses a real risk of contaminating the surrounding countryside.
“Every illegal laundering operation typically generates tonnes of toxic waste, which causes significant environmental and safety risks,” he said.
“Buying illicit fuel funds crime and supports and encourages these dangerous activities within our communities. We are all paying the substantial cleanup and disposal costs, so the only winners are the criminals.
“We are working in partnership with our colleagues in the Organised Crime Task Force and I would urge anyone with information on fuel misuse in their area to contact our free telephone hotline – 0800 59 5000 – and contribute to the fight against this criminality.”