JTI UK has removed tobacco gantries from two London retailers who sold illegal cigarettes.
The tobacco manufacturer removed the display equipment from Stones Newsagents in Lewisham and Little Health Supermarket in Greenwich after it discovered both stores had been prosecuted and fined for supplying the illegitimate products.
“Given the crimes which these retailers have committed we cannot allow the JTI display equipment which we have provided to remain in their premises,” said Paul Williams, UK head of corporate affairs at JTI.
“Retailers’ involvement in these insidious crimes is totally unacceptable and more needs to be done to eradicate the sale of illegal tobacco.”
The retailers in question had already been fined a combined total of over £6,000 at the time of JTI’s actions.
“Our commitment to support the actions of HMRC and Trading Standards is steadfast and we must work together to eradicate this trend,” he added.
Earlier this year the company also funded a £400,000 pilot scheme to combat underage tobacco sales, which saw 2,500 retailers subject to test-purchases to discover which were “at risk” of non-compliance with age regulations.
The scheme led to a 7% increase in the amount of buyers asked for ID when purchasing tobacco.
As well as this, JTI has stepped up support for retailers ahead of next year’s tobacco display ban for small shops by creating a new website, jtiadvance.co.uk, where retailers can find features such as a margin calculator and training guides.
Retailers who discover illegal cigarettes being supplied in their areas should report perpetrators to local authorities or call the Customs Hotline on 0800 595 000.