Northern Ireland

Raids on 'illegal fuel plants' in Belfast and County Armagh

Customs raid
Image caption Customs officials seized 3,400 litres of green diesel in a raid a site at Hannahstown.

Four men from County Armagh have been arrested in customs raids targeting illegal fuel laundering.

Customs officials seized nearly 12,000 litres of illicit diesel at sites at Hannahtown in west Belfast and in County Armagh on Friday morning.

HM Revenue & Customs said the raids were part of a major cross border operation against suspected fuel fraud, tax evasion and money laundering.

Searches were also carried in counties Meath, Monaghan, Roscommon and Galway.

Two vehicles and cash were seized during the raids in Northern Ireland.

Customs officers, supported by police, recovered 3,400 litres of illegal fuel during their search of a business premises in Hannahstown.

They dismantled what they described as a "huckster site that was selling cheap, smuggled green diesel".

In County Armagh, they found 8,000 litres of laundered green diesel in underground tanks.

They have not disclosed the exact location of the fuel storage site.

In the Republic, fuel samples and business records were seized from five commercial premises.

Mike Connolly from HMRC said the operation had stopped the "loss of millions of pounds of taxpayer's money".