Scores of officers from HM Revenue & Customs, the Environment Agency (EA) and the police have raided and searched 14 properties in northern England as part of an investigation into a suspected £78m landfill tax fraud.
Fourteen people were arrested at addresses in Gateshead, Washington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Leeds and Hull.
The raids, at six commercial and eight residential addresses early this morning, were said by Simon York, director of the fraud investigation service at HMRC, as being “the culmination of 18 months’ painstaking investigation into the suspected systematic abuse of the landfill tax system”.
He said the authorities believe the alleged lost revenue is more than £78m.
“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.
“Anyone with information about suspected landfill tax fraud or other types of fraud can call the Tax Evasion Hotline on 0800 788 887.”
A spokesperson for the EA said: “The agency is supporting HMRC in a major operation at locations across Yorkshire and the north-east. We are working closely with our partner organisations to help stamp out landfill tax evasion.”
Commercial properties in Gateshead, Washington, Hartlepool, Hull and Leeds were searched, as well as residential addresses in Hartlepool, Middlesbrough and Hull.
The chief executive of the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management, Steve Lee, said: “We know very little at this stage about this case and the ‘suspected systematic abuse’ that underpins it. However, this is exactly the sort of multi-regulator co-operation this industry has been calling for in the face of growing waste crime”.
- Three men aged 35, 40 and 49 from Hartlepool
- Two women, aged 32 and 34, also from Hartlepool
- Man, 49, from Seaton Carew
- Man, 42, from Middlesbrough
- Woman, 26, from Stockton
- Man, 43, from Beverley
- Man, 40, from Melton
- Man, 29, from Brough
- Man, 43, from Anlaby
- Man, 23, from Willerby
- Man, 49, from Hull