JTI has removed a gantry from one store and withdrawn support from another as it continues its clampdown on retailers who sell illegal tobacco.

On September 16 JTI removed its tobacco gantry from Pall Mall News, in Chorley, Lancashire, following action by Lancashire Trading Standards officers.

The owner, Siraj Adam, was fined and ordered to pay costs of over £700 as a result of selling illegal cigarettes and tobacco.

Charlie Cunningham-Reid, UK head of corporate affairs, commented: “Yet again JTI has removed a gantry from a retailer found to be selling illegal tobacco and this clearly demonstrates our resolve in taking action against this activity. 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’.

“Our commitment to support the actions of Trading Standards and HM Revenue & Customs is steadfast and we must work together to take a stand against illegal tobacco.”

JTI has also informed Mala Mini Market, 371 High Road in Wembley, that it will no longer receive support and expertise from the company. This follows the owner of the store, Mrs Navamala Girirathan, being ordered to pay close to £2,000 in fines and costs after pleading guilty to selling illegal tobacco products. Trading Standards officers from Brent Council 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 carries or their known tobacco company representative,” he added.

He said anyone who knows of criminals supplying illegal cigarettes in their area owes it to their local community to report them through Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 or the Customs Hotline on 0800 595000.