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Volume 477: debated on Thursday 12 June 2008

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people have been (a) charged with and (b) convicted of the distribution or sale of illegal fuel in the last 12 months. (210053)

In the last 12 months, eight people have been convicted of hydrocarbon oils fraud in Northern Ireland. In that period, six have been arrested in relation to suspected hydrocarbon oils fraud in cases which are being dealt with by information and summons.

In the same period, in mainland Great Britain, one case involving four defendants has reached the prosecution stage.

The number of people convicted in relation to hydrocarbon oils fraud in mainland Great Britain and Northern Ireland during the period 2007-08 will be published in the HMRC autumn performance report 2008, later this year.

Criminal investigation and prosecution for hydrocarbon oils offences form only one part of HMRC’s overall approach to tackling oils fraud, together with the investigation/prosecution of wider oils excise offences, combined with a strong regulatory control system and the civil penalties regime.