Fourteen people arrested in an alleged £78m landfill tax fraud investigation have been bailed.
The suspects, including six from Hartlepool, were arrested when tax officials from HM Revenue and Customs raided homes and commercial premises across the North East and Yorkshire on Wednesday.
Today a spokesman for HMRC said: “All the individuals have been bailed. We seized a mammoth amount of paperwork and a total of just over £250,000 in cash.
“The businesses are free to resume trade if they wish to do so.”
Around 180 officers from HMRC, supported by the Environment Agency and local police, searched six commercial and eight residential addresses in Hartlepool, Washington, Gateshead, Middlesbrough, Leeds and Hull.
Simon York, director of HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service said the raids were the culmination of 18 months painstaking investigation into the suspected systematic abuse of the landfill tax system.
He said: “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.