Needham Market: Police raid warehouse in red diesel bust

The multi agency raid at a warehouse.

The multi agency raid at a warehouse. - Credit: Archant

POLICE have raided a warehouse and seized a vehicle containing red diesel following tip-offs from the public.

Officers broke into the site just outside Needham Market and tested the fuel tanks of around a dozen vehicles in an operation with Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise officers.

Red diesel, which is less taxed than normal diesel and must only be used in farm vehicles and boats, were found in two containers.

HMRC officers subsequently tracked down a vehicle containing red fuel in Stowmarket and imposed a £500 on-the-spot fine for a male owner, Suffolk Pc Andrew Martin said.

The vehicle was confiscated by HMRC officers and will be returned when the fine has been paid.

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Police also searched a residential address in Needham Market where officers recovered suspected stolen property.

No arrests were made but the investigation is ongoing.

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Pc Martin said: “We applied for a search warrant for stolen cars, stolen car parts and stolen fuel and are currently conducting ongoing inquiries to establish whether the vehicles were stolen.

“HMRC officers found red diesel in two containers in the warehouse. This led us to a vehicle in Stowmarket which was tested and found to have red fuel.

“The owner was unable to pay a £500 on-the-spot fine and as a result the vehicle was seized.

“Suspected stolen property was also seized at the other address. No arrests were made and our inquiries are ongoing.”

Attractive to thieves, red diesel is a dyed fuel for registered agricultural or construction vehicles, which carries a lower tax levy than fuel used in ordinary road vehicles.

Pc Martin said: “Red diesel is illegal to use on the road and is a form of tax evasion. It is unfair to other motorists because you are not putting money back into the economy and it undermines agricultural workers.”

Pc Martin said officers were acting on information received over time by members of the public, allowing officers to obtain two search warrants.

He said: “We actively encourage all members of the public to contact us with any information they think could help us in investigating suspected criminal activity.

“Everyone who contacts us is treated confidentially.”

A HMRC spokesman said: “Officers have seized a vehicle containing red diesel.

“The vehicle will be returned to the owner if and when they pay the penalty payment.

“HMRC will continue to work with other law enforcement agencies to target illegal fuel use.”

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