In a conversation with a great retailer recently, he told me that he was struggling to get any assistance with his tobacco category.

The retailer may be enthusiastic, have a great range of products and have excellent merchandising in his store, but he’s also new to retailing and his shop is very small. And, as a result, he doesn’t sell enough tobacco every week to qualify for any extra help.

He currently has to sell tobacco from a space under the counter as he can’t get a gantry.

Knowing this makes it even more frustrating to find out that there are shops across the country that are buying second-hand gantries from websites like ebay and Gumtree to peddle illicit tobacco products to their customers. And that there’s nothing tobacco manufacturers can do about it because they don’t have ownership of the units.

This is the latest in a raft of illicit trading examples that Retail Express has uncovered. It adds fuel to our Smoke Them Out campaign, which fights for more  to be done to tackle the black market.

The industry needs to work together to step in and remove these gantries, shut the shops down and keep a record of both the store and the retailer caught selling illicit stock to make it as difficult as possible for them to trade again.

Allowing this to continue just encourages more law-breakers to take advantage of a growing and lucrative black market.