A cross-border group is being established in an attempt to combat the illegal multi-million euro trade in fuel.

The Cross Border Fuel Fraud Enforcement group will include representatives from customs and police authorities on both sides of the border.

It is being established by the Northern Ireland Security Minister, Paul Goggins, and will operate under the auspices of the Organised Crime Task Force.

Its aim is to drive forward the battle against criminals who deal in illicit fuel and cheat the exchequers in the UK and the Republic out of millions of pounds in lost tax revenue every year.

This will be a multi-agency body and will include the PSNI, the UK's Customs and Excise authorities, criminal assets recovery bodies, and all their counterparts in the Republic.

An indication of the sums of money involved is found in the latest figures which reveal that 43% of diesel sold in the North, and 14% of petrol, was illegal, meaning a loss to the British Exchequer of £270m.