Tax officials swooped on homes and businesses in Hartlepool in the early hours of today as part of a multi-million pound investigation into suspected landfill tax fraud.
Around 180 officers from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), supported by the Environment Agency and local police forces, searched six commercial and eight residential addresses in Gateshead, Washington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Leeds and Hull early this morning.
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.Simon York, director of the HMRC’s fraud investigation service
Those arrested include a 49-year-old man from Seaton Carew, men aged 35, 40 49 from Hartlepool and women aged 32 and 34 from the town.
All those being questioned have been arrested on suspicion of evasion of landfill tax and money laundering.
Simon York, director of the HMRC’s fraud investigation service, said: “Today’s activities are the culmination of 18 months’ painstaking investigation into the suspected systematic abuse of the landfill tax system.
“We believe that over £78million 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.”
A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said: “The Environment 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.”
Also were arrested were 42-year-old man from Middlesbrough, 26-year-old woman from Stockton, a 43-year-old man from Beverley, a 40-year-old man from Melton, 29-year-old man from Brough, a 43-year-old man from Anlaby, 23-year-old man from Willerby and a 49-year-old man from Hull
Commercial addresses in Gateshead, Washington, Hartlepool, Hull and Leeds were searched.
Homes in Hartlepool, Middlesbrough and Hull were also checked.
Anyone with information about suspected landfill tax fraud or other types of fraud can call the Tax Evasion Hotline on 0800 788 887