Seized 'pool car for youths' in West Yorkshire running on 'red diesel' - but what is it and why is it illegal?

West Yorkshire Police have seized a car after it was being driven with no MOT, licence, insurance or road tax - and was being fuelled on illegal red diesel.

The seized 'pool car for youths' found in Todmorden, West Yorkshire
The seized 'pool car for youths' found in Todmorden, West Yorkshire

The clapped out silver Peugeot also had two bald tyres and was being used as a 'pool car' by a group of youths, according to West Yorkshire Police.

While vehicles which are so illegal are seized on a regular basis, one unusual element is the use of 'red diesel'.

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From a scientific point of view, Red diesel is no different to normal diesel except that it has red colouring dye added to the fuel.

But from a legal point of view, this is to ensure that it can be identified, in case someone tries to use it in a normal road car. Its use in a normal vehicle on a public road is illegal, and anyone caught using it can be reported to HMRC.

This is because it is not subject to the normal fuel duty. Red diesel is legally used by off-road vehicles such as tractors and farm machinery.

Crown explain the fuel:

Q: What is red diesel?

A: Red diesel is a fuel that is used in off road vehicles and machinery. It is used in many industries, most prominently construction and farming.

Q: Do you require a licence to buy red diesel?

A: No, you do not need a licence to buy gas oil, but you will need to sign an RDCO form. However, the company selling red diesel or any other controlled oils (rebated bio blend, kerosene and aviation turbine fuel) must be registered with HMRC.

It is the responsibility of the dealer of controlled oils to make sure the fuel is being used legitimately, and they may pass on details about the transactions to HMRC which can be further used by the Road Fuel Testing Units (RFTU).

According to GOV.UK:

"Report someone to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) if they’re using red diesel on public roads.

"It’s illegal to use red diesel on public roads. You can report it to the HMRCFraud Hotline."