Small shops champion Simon Danczuk has promised to take the lead on pushing the issue of illicit tobacco in parliament.

The vow is a crucial step in Retail Express’s ‘Smoke Them Out’ campaign, which drew praise from the Rochdale MP.

At a meeting in his London office, Mr Danczuk, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Small Shops, told Retail Express two retailers from his Rochdale constituency had spoken to him about a store they believed was involved in the black market.

“I will take a lead in parliament on addressing this,” he said. “I’ve had people coming into my surgery about it. Two retailers from a particular road in Rochdale came to see me about this specifically. They spoke to me about a shop further down the street in relation to selling illicit tobacco and alcohol.”

At the meeting, Retail Express highlighted the number of calls received during the past 60 days from retailers that are suffering at the hands of disreputable traders, the cost to their businesses and the feeling of helplessness as raided stores are simply reopened.