30 Nov 2021

Louth filling station operator gets four months for fuel with traces of marker

Ardee District Court

Louth filling station operator gets four months for fuel with traces of marker

The operator of a filling station where 2,000 litres of diesel with traces of a prescribed marker, was seized in a customs operation, was sentenced to four months at Ardee district court last week.

Seamus Lappin (70) trading as Stepaside Service Station, Drogheda Road, Ardee was summonsed for two counts of keeping fuel with a prescribe marker for sale at his premises on the eighth of October 2015.

State solicitor for Louth Fergus Mullen told Judge Coughlan when the case was called last Monday that he could record a conviction in respect of the first summons.

A Revenue official gave evidence that fuel in a diesel pump on site, was found to have traces of a prescribed marker.

Such markers are added to rebated agri-diesel north and south of the border to distinguish it from road diesel on which taxes are paid.

The court heard that the 2,000 litres of fuel seized represented a potential loss in excise duty and VAT of €1,178.

When Judge Coughlan asked the witness if the accused had told Revenue who had sold it to him, the officer replied "We didn't establish that".

The judge then addressed Mr. Lappin saying "I note you haven't cooperated in relation to who sold you this".

The Defence solicitor told the court the 70 year old had no previous convictions and has been operating the filling station for the last seven or eight years and he said it's close to two years since the detection and his client hasn't come to the attention of Revenue since then.

He added that his client accepts that a closure order had to be made.

Judge Coughlan directed that the premises close for the maximum penalty of seven days, and sentenced him to four months in custody but said he could appeal the sentence by lodging €1,000 in cash.

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