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Operation Memory identified over 100 vehicles illegally using heating oil as fuel, and interrupted the illegal cross-border trade in mineral oils within the EU.

Project dates 01/08/2008 - 21/11/2008
TopicCustoms Cooperation
Total budget€95 803
EU contribution70%
Project CoordinatorCustoms Criminal Investigation Department (Germany)
Project PartnersCustoms authorities of the Czech Republic, Slovakia and the UK

Project Description

The illegal trade and use of mineral oils is a problem in many countries. The Memory project tackled it by focusing on fraudulent documents accompanying consignments of mineral oils being transported across EU borders, and on the misuse of such oils as fuel.

The team started by identifying criminal groups operating in this field, as well as bogus companies that are listed in documents as the recipients of deliveries. The project also sought to identify freight forwarding companies illegally using mineral oils as fuel. Finally the team sought to introduce and implement punitive measures for all such criminal activities.

Benefits and results

The operation was divided into two strands. The first involved levy inspectors and authorities in recipient countries checking that all documentation was correct. Of around 3 800 documents checked, 1 800 were sent for further checks within the relevant countries. This led to the discovery of four irregularities, which in turn led to fines and further investigations.

The second strand involved monitoring deliveries of mineral oil. Around 700 loads were checked, as well as the documentation accompanying the load. A further 2 600 deliveries were checked Europe-wide using mobile control units. In total experts found over 100 vehicles illegally using heating oil as fuel.

In addition to these very visible results, the project was able to improve collaboration and the exchange of information between inspection and law enforcement authorities within participating countries working to prevent and fight crime in this field. Information exchange between the mineral oil industry and authorities was also stepped up, and the project strengthened regional cooperation.

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