A former special constable turned award-winning retailer is spearheading a crusade to put any store prosecuted for selling illegal tobacco out of business.
Suppliers are being called on to help stamp out illicit trading by forming an alliance and signing a code of conduct which states they will sever ties with convicted businesses.
“Tobacco companies have always had a lot of clout in threatening to remove their gantries,” said the Yorkshire retailer, who does not want to be named due to safety fears. “But what I want is for suppliers to come together and say that if a retailer is prosecuted they will all pull out of their business and basically bring that retailer to their knees.”
The retailer has already spoken to several major FMCG suppliers and the campaign has been welcomed by JTI, Camelot and One Stop, with positive feedback from others.
A Camelot spokesman said it reinforces its aim to run The National Lottery with “the utmost integrity”.
Andrew King, One Stop franchise director, said the industry should work together to eradicate illicit trading.
Protecting our brand is vitally important to One Stop, not just for the benefit of our own company stores, but also to safeguard the livelihoods of our franchisees
He added: “Any illegal activity by one of our franchisees would bring our brand into disrepute. Protecting our brand is vitally important to One Stop, not just for the benefit of our own company stores, but also to safeguard the livelihoods of our franchisees.”
Last month, wholesaler Bestway withdraw its support from a Levenshulme shop after it was prosecuted for selling illegal tobacco and JTI removed its gantry.
Jeremy Blackburn, JTI head of communications, said he applauds Bestway’s actions and would be fully behind any initiative that takes illegal cigarettes out of the legitimate supply chain.
The determined retailer, who was a special constable for three years, is also working on compiling a dossier on the damage the illicit trade causes businesses to present to the government.