Japan Tobacco International has announced that, in partnership with anti-counterfeiting agency TM Eye, it has for the first time been involved in a private prosecution of a seller of illegal tobacco.

At Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court on May 31, Gary Williams pleaded guilty to selling tobacco products that broke UK labelling and packaging laws. Williams was ordered to pay a total of £210 in fines and costs.

Evidence of the offences was obtained via a series of undercover mystery shopping operations outside a car boot sale at Coles Park Stadium, London N17. Eight illegal products, all 50g packs of roll your own tobacco, were purchased during the investigation.

Charlie Cunningham-Reid, UK head of corporate affairs, said: “We welcome the decision made by the court in this case. This is the first time JTI has been directly involved in the private prosecution of a criminal selling illegal tobacco. It marks a further step forward in the company’s commitment to help tackle the problem of illegal tobacco and we will not hesitate to take similar action in future.”