JTI has started the year by demonstrating its commitment to help tackle the illegal trade in tobacco.

During the Christmas and New Year period the tobacco company removed gantries from two stores, 6 till 11 in Ilford, and Micklefield Superstore in High Wycombe. Both stores had been prosecuted for dealing in illegal tobacco and ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £3,245.

In addition, JTI has informed the owner of Good Morning Superstore in Harrow that they will no longer receive support and expertise from the company following action by the local authority revoking their premises license for dealing in illegal tobacco and alcohol.

Charlie Cunningham-Reid, UK head of corporate affairs. commented: “JTI has again demonstrated its commitment to take action against those retailers found to be selling illegal tobacco.

“Ahead of the May 20th deadline to sell branded cigarette and RYO packs, our actions and that of the law enforcement agencies should serve as timely reminders to any retailer tempted to sell illegal tobacco products in their shops. Any retailer who attempts to exploit the new environment will find that alongside tobacco manufacturers, Trading Standards Departments and HMRC will continue to investigate, disrupt and prosecute those involved in the illegal tobacco trade.”

He warned that if it seems too be good to be true then it probably is, and advised that retailers should only get their stock from a reputable cash and carry or their known tobacco company representative.

Any retailer who knows of criminals supplying illegal cigarettes in their area should contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or the Customs Hotline on 0800 595000.