JTI has cautioned retailers to source their tobacco from reputable sources in the wake of a further two prosecutions by Trading Standards officers.
In the first instance JTI removed the gantry from a Lancashire store (pictured) after the owner was fined and ordered to pay costs of over £700 as a result of selling illegal cigarettes and tobacco.
A second store, in London, will no longer receive support and expertise from the company. This follows the being ordered to pay close to £2,000 in fines and costs after pleading guilty to selling illegal tobacco products. Trading Standards officers discovered close to 5,000 illegal cigarettes at the store following a successful test purchase in December last year.
“What is particularly disappointing is that the retailer admitted to obtaining their stock from an unknown man who had visited the store,” said JTI’s Jeremy Blackburn.
“JTI’s message has always been clear – if it seems too good to be true then it probably is. Retailers must only get their stock from reputable cash and carrys or their known tobacco company representative.” he added.
JTI has called on other category partners in the retail sector to take a stand against retailers who flout the law by withdrawing their support from wrongdoers.
The tobacco company’s UK Head of Corporate Affairs, Charlie Cunningham-Reid, commented: “If this type of crime continues, customers will lose trust in their local shops as the false impression grows that all of the independent trade is rife with ‘dodgy cigarettes’.”
Any retailer who knows of criminals supplying illegal cigarettes in their area can report them through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000.