Over the past 18 months we’ve devoted a lot of time and coverage to the growing problem the country has with the illicit trade.

We launched Smoke Them Out last year, a campaign to raise the black market on the industry’s agenda and get MPs to listen to (and ultimately act on) the matter, both on a local and national level.

At Retail Express, we speak to retailers day in, day out, about all aspects of their business. The illicit trade forms an increasingly large part of that. In our November 17 issue we ran a feature on the future of tobacco where four of the retailers we spoke to – from various parts of the UK – voiced concern about the illicit market.

On the front page of the same issue we covered the convenience industry’s crackdown on illicit traders, with Nisa stripping a member of his fascia after the owner was caught selling counterfeit vodka.

This isn’t tobacco, but the product is irrelevant. This is another retailer flouting the law, putting customers at risk with unknown products and stealing trade from legitimate businesses.

You can see here how the number of stores losing their alcohol licences because of their involvement in counterfeit products is on the rise.

These shops must be stripped of their licences; they must be ejected from symbol groups; and they must be blacklisted by suppliers and wholesalers so that they cannot operate their business.

Our campaign continues.