An 18-month investigation into suspected landfill tax fraud has resulted in the arrests of 14 people across the North East of England and Yorkshire.
A total of 180 officers from Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs conducted early morning raids across the region last week in connection with the suspected £78 million fraud.
The teams, which were backed by Environment Agency and local police personnel, searched six commercial premises and eight residential addresses in Gateshead, Washington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Leeds and Hull.
A total of 11 men and three women between the ages of 23 and 49 were arrested in the raids, with five of the 14 arrests made in Hartlepool.
Simon York, director of the Fraud Investigation Service at HMRC, said the raids were the culmination of ‘painstaking’ work into suspected systematic abuse of the landfill tax system.
He said: “We believe that over £78 million revenue may be involved, money which could be used to fund some of the UK’s most vital public services.
“No one is above paying their fair and legal share of tax, as the rest of us do, and we are closing in on those who try to cheat the system. HMRC, working with our law enforcement partners, will do everything within our power to catch those involved in tax fraud of any kind, and will push for the strongest punishments through the court.”
The Environment Agency added it was working closely with HMRC to stamp out landfill tax evasion.