Imperial Tobacco has terminated sales support for six retailers and ended their involvement with its trade partner programme Ignite following illegal tobacco-related convictions.

Where the retailers were found to have an Imperial Tobacco gantry, it has also been removed.

The tobacco manufacturer released details of the six affected retailers. Surja Singh Sethi of Micklefield Superstore, Gayhurst Road, High Wycombe, was convicted of selling illicit tobacco, and JTI had previously ceased sales support and removed its tobacco gantry from the retailer’s premises. Subsequently, Imperial discovered Sethi had acquired an Imperial Tobacco gantry from another retailer. The gantry remained the property of Imperial, however, and it wrote to Sethi to arrange the removal of the gantry on February 20, but when the contractor arrived the gantry was no longer present at the premises.

Amrik Singh Arora, of Good Morning Superstore, Streatfield Road, Harrow, was convicted of selling illicit tobacco, and had his tobacco gantry removed by Imperial on February 24. Imperial and JTI have since both ceased to provide sales support to him.

Manmeet Singh Grover, with premises on Edinburgh Drive, Laleham, Staines-upon-Thames, had his Imperial gantry removed on February 10. Grover has lost his franchise, as well as any future sales support from Imperial.

Three traders – Kishan Hirani of Deansbrook Londis, Deansbrook Road, Edgware; Adel Alavy of 6 ‘till 11, Green Lane, Ilford; and Ibrahim Altun of ‘Chiro Inn Wine Time’, Station Road, Walthamstow - had their sales support and Ignite memberships terminated as a result of their convictions for selling illicit tobacco.

Peter Nelson, Imperial Tobacco anti-illicit trade manager, commented: “These latest actions are another impactful demonstration of Imperial’s zero tolerance policy regarding retailers convicted of transgressions relating to illegal tobacco. Fraudulent retailers who fall foul of the law will lose their Imperial gantries, their related sales support and any Ignite points they may have amassed.

“It is important to remember that, far from a victimless crime, the illicit trade affects honest retailers, damages communities and in many cases actually funds organised criminal activity. If you are suspicious of illegal tobacco where you live, please act by contacting HMRC’s Hotline on 0800 595000, or your local trading standards or police. Remember… if you suspect it? Report it!”