All 11 plants raided in 2012 within 30km of Dundalk, says Customs chief


DIESEL LAUNDERING:The 11 diesel-laundering plants raided by Customs officers this year have been within 30km (18 miles) of Dundalk, Co Louth.

Two sites raided within a 12-hour period yesterday were 3kms apart and one was described by the Revenue Commissioners as the largest so far this year.

The 11 plants had the capacity to launder 86 million litres annually which, according to Seán Kelleher, assistant principal officer in charge of customs enforcement along the Border, equates to a “loss to the exchequer of some €43 million. That is the sort of money that these criminal gangs are pocketing.”

The first operation this week was at Tatebane, Hackballscross, some 3km from the Border with Armagh. Officers estimated that €9 million would have been lost to the exchequer in unpaid taxes and excise as a result of the plant’s laundering capacity.

An illegal drinking den was also discovered at the location.

The second raid was at Courtbane, Hackballscross, where officers uncovered a plant operating on a smaller scale.

Between both locations 51,000 litres of laundered fuel, three tankers, one lorry and a van and ancillary equipment were seized.

Mr Kelleher confirmed that the Revenue Commissioners are in an “ongoing battle” against diesel laundering and that all 11 of the plants raided this year “were within 30km of Dundalk”.

Three men were arrested at the first plant.