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20 May 2011, 17:03
More than 200,000 litres of highly-adulterated road diesel has been seized by Customs officers from a truck-filling station.
A number of lorry drivers had already filled up unwittingly with the tampered-with diesel at the site at junction 13 of the M1 near Bedford, said HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
The illicit fuel was detected by HMRC road fuel testing officers on Wednesday (May 18th).
Early indications suggest that highly-combustible kerosene, which has a lower duty rate than road diesel, had been added to legitimate diesel in a process known as "stretching''.
All eight road diesel fuel pumps were immediately sealed off and the contaminated fuel removed from the site in nine tankers to be destroyed.
HMRC specialist investigations assistant director Stuart Crookshank said: "Our officers around the UK have already detected this fuel in lorries as far afield as Wiltshire and the West Midlands.
"Hopefully, our intervention has safeguarded trucks from across the UK. The addition of kerosene would have made the fuel more combustible and prolonged use would undoubtedly damage the engine of any vehicle.''