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Sale fuel launderer jailed after seven years on the run
A SALE fuel launderer who spent seven years as a fugitive has been jailed for his part in a £2.5 million fraud.
Martin Toland, who is originally from Ireland but lived on Buckfast Road, Sale, was sentenced to four and a half years at Reading Crown Court on August 9.
Toland, who used the aliases Michael Kelly and Michael Farnan, had been subject to UK and European arrest warrants on since January 2006 but went into hiding.
He handed himself in and was formally charged in February 2013 for his part in the fraud which involved the laundering and distribution of over four million litres of fuel in an eight-month period.
Two men from the West Midlands and one from Northern Ireland were previously jailed for a total of 13 and a half years in December 2006.
Zoe Ellerbeck, assistant director of criminal Investigation for HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), said: “The final conclusion of this operation is proof of our determined efforts to disrupt and dismantle the illegal supply of fuel.
“Criminals who try to evade justice will be apprehended and dealt with through the courts, however long they may have been in hiding.
“Organised crime of this kind has a detrimental and harmful effect on all our communities as well as a damaging impact on our environment.”
The gang collected rebated oil – red diesel and kerosene – from a licensed distributor and ‘mixed’ it, before retailing it as duty paid road diesel and ultra low sulphur diesel.
The gang were also smuggling, laundering and mixing green diesel from the Republic of Ireland.