PLANT and tool hire companies could become the innocent victims of a Customs & Excise crackdown on the fraudulent use of red diesel.
Leaders of the Hire Association Europe are warning members that they face swingeing fines under the clampdown.
Anyone who buys and distributes red diesel must be registered by April 1 or they will be hit with a £250 penalty.
Customs & Excise has decided that plant and tool companies fall into that category because they regularly send out kit containing red diesel.
Association technical and safety manager Kevin Minton said: 'We will be lodging a complaint on three counts: we were not involved in a consultation process;
the impact on the hire and rental industry was simply not considered; and there has been insufficient publicity to make people aware of the situation.'