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19 Jan 2012

You’ll remember we wrote about fuel fraud last October after watching the BBC Panorama documentary ‘The Great British Fuel Robbery’ – we hope you were paying attention. Bit of an update for you: the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee in London is currently investigating fuel fraud and yesterday Environment Minister Alex Attwood announced there has been a significant decline in prosecutions, convictions and penalties against those involved in fuel smuggling.

This sounds promising, perhaps Panorama has scared the petrol pilferers off??? But alas, no, this  is unlikely to be as a result of less activity on the police’s part who have said ’targeting major crime gangs has become a priority’ meaning the actions of fuel fraudsters may have got lost in the mix. It seems as if people are often too afraid to report these crimes, and there’s even been talk of the understanding policeman on the beat perhaps turning a blind eye while pump prices continue to soar?

Panorama suggested businesses are being forced to question their morality and weigh up keeping their business afloat against the implications of sourcing cheap, and mostly illegal, fuel.

Although using illegal fuel, such as rebated heavy oil (red diesel) or fuel bought from questionable garages, can seem like an attractive way to immediately lower fuel expense, especially as diesel prices continue to spiral, drivers mustn’t forget the legal ramifications for those caught using illicit fuel. Red dye diesel is for use only by farmers and building contractors for off-road vehicles.  It’s against the law to run a vehicle on red diesel if it’s registered to be on the road and the owners of cars found to be running on red diesel can be given a £500 on-the-spot fine and are likely to have the vehicle seized by customs officers.

Panorama reported that some crafty fuel thieves are filtering the red dye out of rebated heavy oil and re-selling back to drivers – this filtered fuel can seriously damage a vehicle’s engine and can still be identified as contraband by HMRC officials.

Not really worth it is it? Especially if you consider that using a fuel card can give you significant savings on fuel. We can help you control your fuel costs and, when using a fixed-price fuel card, you could save on average 2 to 3 pence on diesel pump prices.

So instead of giving in to the swindlers, you can ensure you reclaim 100 percent of VAT on business fuel expenses with a fuel card on www.fuelcards.co.uk. Sounds like a plan!
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