Gloucestershire addresses were amongst those raided as part of a crack down on fuel fraud last week.

Three men were arrested, and a fuel laundering plant dismantled as part of an HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigation into a suspected multi-million pound fuel fraud.

More than 50 HMRC officers, supported by North Wales Police and Police Service of Northern Ireland, carried out simultaneous searches of nine business and four residential addresses in Stoke, Crewe, Manchester, Surrey, Gloucestershire, Devon and Northern Ireland last Thursday.

A suspected fuel laundering plant was dismantled in south Armagh and 22,500 litres of fuel were seized, along with specialised equipment suspected of being used in the laundering process.

It’s believed that the suspected laundering plant had the capacity to produce 20 million litres of illicit fuel a year, potentially evading £11 million in revenue.

Tracey Noon, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said that the illicit trade is not only a serious crime, it was also dangerous.

“The illicit trade in laundered fuel is a serious crime and one we are determined to detect and disrupt.

“We remain alert to the often dangerous methods and efforts of criminals to remove the government markers from rebated fuel.

“Given that laundering plants have been found adjacent to homes and retail sites we would urge anyone with information about this dangerous activity to report it to HMRC online or by calling 0800 788 887.”

The three men arrested were questioned by HMRC and have been released pending further enquiries.

Investigations are ongoing.