Imperial Tobacco ramped up its fight against the illicit tobacco market by ripping out one of its gantries for the first time last month.

The manufacturer took the decision to remove its gantry from Millfield Off Licence in Peterborough on December 9, after its owner Ghulam Jafri was convicted of selling illegal tobacco products. In total, 104 packets of illicit and counterfeit cigarettes were seized, including illegal export brand Jin Ling, and six pouches of rolling tobacco.

“This sends out a strong message to any retailers looking to profit from this illegal activity there will be strong reprisals if they are caught,” said Peter Nelson, Imperial Tobacco anti-illicit trade manager.
“Unfortunately this minority group is putting at risk, in the eyes of society, the good reputation of hardworking retailers.It’s imperative that we take a firm line on these perpetrators in order to protect our legal retailers and the communities they serve.”

Local enforcement carried out test purchasing in March 2014 and discovered not a single English health warning on any of the products and the prices were seriously below the expected rate, indicating that the products were not legal.

The move from Imperial Tobacco follows a series of gantry removals by JTI over the past year. The supplier has taken out several units from stores convicted of selling illegal tobacco.