Customs crackdown on ‘unscrupulous garages’

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Customs have vowed to crack down on “unscrupulous garage dealers” watering down petrol and diesel in Donegal, including Inishowen, the Journal has learnt.

With the rising cost of fuel, Inland revenue told the ‘Journal’ they are “alert to the illegal activities” of certain filling stations where they sell “mixed petrol and washed diesel to the unsuspecting public”.

One Inishowen garage owner said the problem has become more serious in the past few months, with scores of cars badly damaged as a result.

“Petrol and diesel is being tampered with, and it’s completely wrecking people’s cars. We see a lot of people coming in with damage to their engines, and a lot of the time this is the reason behind it.

“It’s a serious problem nowadays.”

Though the garage man condemns the illegal actions of some, he thinks the rising prices for fuel and the recession have their parts to play in why these illegal activities are becoming more widespread.

“With the cost of fuel these days you can almost understand why some dealers are doing this. It has risen to a crazy price in recent months, and I can’t see the cost of it coming down. Nobody has as much money as they used to, but the bottom line is it’s doing long term harm to cars.

“It will cost people a lot more trouble and money in the long run.”

It seems both insurance companies and local mechanics are all too aware of a problem in Inishowen with adulterated fuel.

The Customs have promised to “continue to enforce the regulations” throughout the country to fight against what they describe as “unscrupulous garage dealers”.

They have pledged their support to genuine traders in their bid to ensure there is a level playing field for all honest dealers in the country.

“We co-operate with the legitimate traders and we endeavour to reduce the detrimental impact that the illegitimate trade can have on the compliant traders,” said a spokesperson.

A spokesperson from Inland Revenue also asked the public to be aware of these activities and report any suspicions to their local Revenue office immediately.