HMRC has confirmed that the UK and Ireland will begin using a more sophisticated marker for rebated fuels from April 2015, which should make it much more difficult for fraudsters to launder out of rebated-fuels intended for non-road use. A spokeswoman for HMRC, said the new marker, which is being produced by The Dow Chemical Company, came out top in the UK’s and Ireland’s recent evaluation process and had showed itself to be “resistant to all known practical laundering methods”.
Admitting that current UK and Irish markers were “vulnerable to laundering techniques”, thespokeswoman said the additional marker, alongside an enhanced version of the UK’s red-dye which would also be more difficult to launder, should result in “a very robust marker mix”. Asked if an HMRC suggestion that the new marker would “virtually eliminate” fuel laundering was realistic, the spokeswoman said: “Yes, but laundering is just one variety of fuel fraud and HMRC uses a wide range of tools to combat all types of fraud. It must be understood an improved marker is not a ‘silver bullet’ and will not end fuel fraud” she said. Evidence of the need for a more effective approach in the fight against the illicit fuel trade is not hard to find. On the 20th November, HMRC officers discovered two suspected diesel laundering plants in Essex and Merseyside, with a combined annual capacity of 20 million litres– just the latest in a long line of similar discoveries in the UK so far this year. At the Bootle, Merseyside site, HMRC officers seized around 100,000 litres of untested diesel, as well as laundering chemicals and a substantial volume of laundered fuel waste loaded into a curtain-sided semi-trailer.
At the Upminster, Essex laundry, they found 14,000 litres of laundered fuel and a number of drums believed to contain waste by-product. At a related site in West Thurrock that was also raided on the day, over 15,000 litres of contaminated diesel were discovered, alongside three tractive units and four other commercial vehicles.All news