Irwin calls for more resources to tackle fuel laundering
Newry & Armagh DUP assemblyman William Irwin has called for HM Revenue and Customs and the PSNI to dedicate more resources to tackling the scourge of fuel laundering in South Armagh.
Irwin’s comments came after the latest disclosure that three laundering plants had been discovered within a short distance of each other in the Cullaville area of South Armagh during the past month.
Speaking about the issue the DUP man said, “The issue of fuel laundering and the selling of illicit fuel has become almost epidemic in some parts of my constituency. This has gone on for years now and we seem no nearer to eradicating this criminality from our society.
“Indeed at times the Police and Customs have no sooner dismantled one illegal plant than the very same people start up again within a few days carrying on their same illicit trade. I call again on the authorities to step up to the mark on this issue. We must have arrests and stiff custodial sentences handed down to those who are involved in this criminal behaviour.
“This is not a victimless crime as it’s the motorists and taxpayers of this country who are left picking up the tab every single time they fill up their vehicles, whilst the criminal gangs operating these laundering plants syphon off millions of pounds of revenue that could otherwise be used to build new roads or schools or hospitals.
Irwin added, “Not only is there the issue of the illegal fuel but very often there is environmental damage caused to the area around these laundering plants due to the toxic sludge waste left over after the laundering process and this often costs local authorities thousands of pounds to clean up.
“The time has come for a zero tolerance policy in relation to these crimes with robust jail sentences to match the level of criminality and tax evasion involved.”
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