Illegal stores of more than 2,000 litres of duty-cut red diesel, which could have proven “a real danger to the public”, have been uncovered during raids at car washes in Bradford.

Officers in the Great Horton Neighbourhood Policing Team working in partnership with Revenue and Customs officers targeted hand car washes in Spencer Road, Lidget Green.

The operation was carried out after police received reports that the businesses were storing and selling red diesel illegally for use on public roads.

A number of premises, including one private residence, were visited and several vehicles were stopped and checked by officers.

By the end of the joint operation, 2,150 litres of illegal fuel were seized and two vehicles with contain red diesel in their fuel tanks were also recovered.

Further inquiries are continuing by Revenue and Customs Officers with a view to bring prosecutions.

Red diesel is a tax-reduced fuel that cannot be used legally on the highway by the general public and is intended for agricultural and construction vehicles only.

And police say the storage of the fuel, in unlicensed businesses, like car washes on busy roads, could prove a danger to the public.

Sergeant Mick Cheetham said: “This has once again been a great success and a large amount of fuel recovered, I urge anyone with any information relating to the sale of stolen fuel to contact the police or revenue and customs and we will deal with any reports made.

“Not only does this type of crime damage the economy it also presents a real danger to the public due to the unsafe storage of flammable liquid.”

An HMRC spokesman said: “The illegal sale and misuse of rebated fuel such as red diesel is a serious criminal offence.

“This crime costs the taxpayer millions each year in lost duty. HMRC is committed to targeting those individuals who continue to flout the rules and we will continue to work with the police and other agencies on this matter.

“If you are aware of anyone selling red diesel to members of the public for use in road vehicles we urge you to let us know by contacting our hotline on 0800 595000.”