Revenue and An Garda Síochána have launched a joint operation to investigate petrol stretching complaints in Mayo.
The two bodies are now to share information, intelligence and intensive monitoring of the situation in a new effort to identify the perpetrators and pursue prosecutions.
More than 300 people attended a second public meeting on petrol stretching on October 27 in the Gateway Hotel.
Organisers of the meeting say many thousands of euros in damage has been caused to a large number of vehicles in Mayo and bordering counties since the problem arose this summer.
Petrol stretching involves adding components, such as kerosene, to fuel to ‘stretch’ it and increase profits.
In a statement circulated on Wednesday, both Revenue and the gardaí confirmed they are now working together to tackle the matter.
“In response to concerns expressed by the public in Mayo, Revenue and An Garda Síochána in the county have agreed joint actions in investigating the serious nature of problems arising from suspected interference with petrol,” said a garda spokesperson.
”These actions include sharing of information and intelligence and intensive monitoring of the situation.
“Revenue will continue to sample suspect fuel and will investigate with a view to pursuing prosecutions against offenders where possible.
“An Garda Síochána will continue their investigations following numerous complaints from the public and will be stepping up other actions in an attempt to identify the perpetrators.”
A spokesperson for Revenue said the agency is “very aware of the risks posed to consumers’ vehicles, legitimate businesses and the Exchequer by all forms of fuel fraud.”
“Motorists are advised to take care where they source their petrol and report any suspicions concerning adulterated fuel which may have damaged their engines,” they said. ”All such reports will be fully investigated.”
Many motorists who have fallen victim to suspected petrol stretching have described, at the meetings in Swinford, how they were first alerted to the problem.
They listed losing power, misfiring and a ‘knocking noise’ in the engine.
The problem has affected so many motorists, that one man in east Mayo was told to “join the queue” when he brought his car to the local mechanic.