Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) has joined politicians and tobacco and alcohol trade groups in lobbying for new tools in the fight against the illicit trade.

The company sponsored the new All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Illicit Trade report titled: Illicit trade in the UK. The document represents the views of the politicians in the APPG and calls for a new UK-wide anti-illicit trade body.

The new Anti-Illicit Trade Group (AITG) would build a new strategy to help different Government departments to work together to tackle illicit sales. The group would be supported by a Government minister who would be put in charge of the group’s efforts.

MP and APPG chair Matthew Offord said the Treasury was “very keen” to look over the recommendations.

The report was put together by PA Consulting. Steven Carden, from PA Consulting, said a newly-formed AITG would also research how to dissuade the public from purchasing illicit goods, and fully expose the links between illicit sales and organised crime groups.

Julian Hunt, vice president of public affairs at CCEP (pictured), said the company was concerned about the sugar levy creating an illicit trade in soft drinks.

Speaking at the report’s launch in Parliament, he said: “As an industry increasingly looking at the risks of the illicit trade, we will co-operate with Steven and the team to try and drive forwards some of the findings from today’s report.”

Hunt said that when the sugar levy was introduced, CCEP warned retailers: “If they get a deal that is too good to be true it probably is and they should report it to HMRC’s hotline.”

The report was supported by evidence from Newtrade – publisher of Retail Express, RN and Individual newsagents, the British Soft Drinks Association, JTI, the Tobacco Manufacturer’s Association, BAT, the NFRN, the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, the ACS, the Federation of Wholesale Distributors, HMRC, trading standards teams, Police Scotland and others also supplied evidence.

Read more: 'Illicit trade is hidden, underhand and harmful'