The UK oils strategy, announced in 2001, introduced a number of measures designed to tackle all types of oils fraud including laundering and smuggling. These measures included the introduction of the registered dealers in controlled oils scheme, enhanced law enforcement activity and the creation of a specialist intelligence function. Further details on the UK oils strategy can be found on the HMRC website www.hmrc.gov.uk.
Oils fraud forms a profitable criminal enterprise in Northern Ireland, with the proceeds often used to fund other forms of serious crime. It undermines legitimate fuel retailers, and has a debilitating effect on respect for the law by encouraging members of the public into participating in an illicit activity. The latest estimates of revenue loss in the hydrocarbon oils sector are published in “Measuring Indirect Tax Loss-2005”, which was published alongside the PBR. All estimates for Northern Ireland relate to total non-UK duty paid consumption rather than the illicit market. This is because it is not yet possible to split revenue losses between those resulting from the illicit market and those from legitimate cross-border shopping.