13/05/2003

Customs cracks down on illegal fuel use

In a weekend of activity in the North East Scotland, Customs were again working closely with Grampian Police to detect illegal fuel use.

Two private cars and one commercial vehicle were seized during the operation.

A private car and a commercial vehicle were seized in the Turriff area on the A947 and another private car was seized in Inverurie on the A96 again for illegal use of red diesel. The three vehicles were released on payment of penalties totalling £1400.

Over the past three months Customs have made a total of over 1600 tests for illegal fuel at road stops spread over both Grampian and Highland Regions. Eighty-three of these tests were positive for illegal fuel with the vehicles being released on payment of £19,900.

Customs are getting the message about seizures and related penalties for running vehicles on illegal fuel across to the public, as we are getting more and more comments from drivers of "its just not worth taking the risk and losing my car".

Customs' Head of Detection in Scotland Dave Clark said: "The success of this and previous operations in both detections and increased awareness, highlights the benefits of multi-agency working with Grampian Police and Northern Constabulary, and supports Customs' ongoing crackdown on the sale and use of illegal fuel in all parts of Scotland.

"One major objective in this operation was to increase the awareness of the public and businesses in the North East of Scotland of the consequences of illegal fuel misuse.

"Illegal fuel - whether used commercially or privately - undermines honest filling stations, deprives public services of cash and damages vehicle engines, while cigarette smuggling is putting local shops out of business.

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