East Antrim MLA Stewart Dickson has expressed hopes that the tide is turning against fuel laundering.
The Alliance Party representative was speaking after a series of new measures were revealed to help stamp out fuel laundering in Northern Ireland, particularly in border areas.
Speaking in an Assembly motion calling for a joined up approach to the issue, Mr Dickson challenged those who see fuel laundering as a victimless crime.
He pointed to the criminal gangs terrorising their communities, cars damaged by sub-grade fuel, and the environmental damage inflicted by criminals who dump “toxic sludge with wanton disregard” in our countryside.
Earlier this month, the UK and Irish Governments introduced a new product which will be used to mark rebated fuels. Rebated fuel is strictly limited to agriculture, construction and heating oil use and excise duty on it is charged at a lower rate than standard fuel duty.
“[This move] makes fuel laundering all but impossible and uneconomical for the criminals involved,” Mr Dickson said.
“Ultimately however, the impact on fuel laundering will be seen in the future months and I expect HMRC to continue to work with the PSNI and authorities across the island to make sure this new initiative is effective.”