09 May 2002

Fuel Group Calls For Immediate Action From Government

Issued on behalf of the Legitimate Oil Pressure Group

9 May 2002

The Legitimate Oil Pressure Group has called for immediate action from the Government embracing:

  • A Government consumer advertising campaign to be undertaken to inform and raise awareness of the damage caused to car engines by smuggled fuel
  • More resources to be made available to Customs and Excise to investigate and detect fuel smugglers and those stations selling illegal fuel
  • More severe penalties to be enforced on those who are laundering, smuggling fuel retailing fuel.
  • An infra-red marker to be injected into UK duty paid petrol and diesel to make it easier for Customs and Excise to detect non-duty paid fuel

The request follows a meeting with the Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee at Westminster on Wednesday 8th May.

Brian Donaldson, Chairman of the Legitimate Oil Pressure Group and General Manager, Marketing and Retail of the Maxol Group said: "Action must be taken by Government now if those people smuggling fuel are to be deterred and the petrol industry in Northern Ireland is to have any hope of making a recovery."

"The Government must be seen to support legitimate retailers in Northern Ireland and punitive steps taken against those involved in laundering, transporting and selling illegal fuel. The resources available to Customs and Excise fall short of what is reasonably required to dent the armour of the illegal fuel ring operating in the province."

Donaldson also called for a more collective effort to be made to discourage smuggling. “LOPG is asking Training Standards to be more proactive in taking action against those retailers selling illicit fuel or washed products. Involvement from local Borough Council’s is also sought who have the power to remove petroleum licensees from those sites involved in illegal trading through their environmental health officers.”

Maxol Oil is currently investigating the possibility of initiating a quality assurance scheme to cover its entire network of sites in Northern Ireland. This scheme will require Maxol retailers to enter into a legal agreement with the company to sell legitimate fuel supplied by Maxol tankers.

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