Customs arrest seven on suspicion of £1m fraud

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SEVEN people from the Market Rasen area have been arrested on suspicion of £1m fraud.

They were arrested as part an investigation tackling suspected illicit fuel use and VAT fraud in Lincolnshire - estimated to be in excess of £1m in lost revenue.

Officers from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), supported by Lincolnshire Police, executed search warrants at eight addresses in two separate phases of an ongoing operation.

In a series of early morning raids last Tuesday, June 19, two people - a 48-year-old man and 60-year-old woman - were arrested and three properties were searched in the Market Rasen area.

Documents, computers and a van equipped with re–fuelling facilities were seized.

A third man, aged 36, who returned to the UK on June 21 was also arrested.

In a previous operation on March 29, three men, aged 57, 58 and 70 and a 48-year-old woman, were arrested and five addresses were searched in Market Rasen.

Officers found and dismantled equipment suspected of being used to adapt fuel tanks to use illicit red diesel - marked gas oil or a rebated fuel for use in agricultural machinery, not road vehicles. Documents and several computers were also seized

They have all been released on bail while enquiries are ongoing.

HMRC’s assistant director of criminal investigations Peter Hollier said: “HMRC takes the illegal use of red diesel and tax fraud seriously and will not hesitate to investigate those suspected of stealing public funds.”

He added: “We urge anyone with information about individuals or businesses who may be involved in tax fraud to help us tackle this type of crime.”

Contact the Tax Evasion hotline on 0800 788 887 or visit hmrc.gov.uk/tax-evasion.

Alternatively call independent charity Crimstoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.