There are 82 days until retailers have to cover their gantries. This is happening in a climate where legitimate retailers all over the country are competing with those dealing in illicit tobacco.

Calls to our Smoke Them Out hotline are still coming in. This is why we decided to visit one of the areas that has been most affected.

Batleys Gillingham depot manager Alan McCarten said trying to get information from retailers about people selling illegal tobacco is like “hitting a brick wall”.

It’s hardly surprising that retailers would be concerned about grassing up criminals, but unless those criminals are reported they’ll continue to obliterate tobacco sales in law-abiding stores. Informing the police, HMRC, your tobacco rep or Retail Express through our Smoke Them Out campaign are just a few of the ways you can anonymously report illegal traders.

Retailers shouldn’t have to live with it. We know that one phone call won’t solve the problem immediately – but we also know that not making any calls means that there isn’t any chance of the problem being solved.

The matter is only going to be made worse with the tobacco display ban on April 6. With the whole gantry behind doors it may tempt previously legitimate retailers to start dealing in the black market.

Tobacco is a topic, much like the election, that you cannot avoid. Make sure you’re on top of things now.