When we started looking into the Local Government Declaration on Tobacco Control, we weren’t ready for what followed.

Compiling a shortlist of raids from up and down the country was relatively easy. Finding the councils that have signed the Declaration, limiting the help they can receive from well-meaning tobacco companies, was also simple.

But we weren’t prepared for the sheer volume of calls we took from retailers about the real impact of illicit tobacco. During the past couple of weeks, retailers from north, south, east and west called to tell us what’s happening in their areas.

HMRC and trading standards have been “useless”, we’ve heard. Trade has fallen by 50%. Shops are being raided and shut down – but are re-opening almost immediately. “If I were looking to buy a business now, I wouldn’t buy this one. These people have ruined my trade,” they said.

Retail Express is compiling the details that we have received so far. We will be compiling a dossier, and we will be confronting HMRC and local councils over their actions. We will be working with the big tobacco firms, and passing the details of dishonest stores on, to ensure that we get some real results. We will be following through every complaint we’ve had. We will not let this rest.

We want to present the REAL picture of the issues that are being faced across the independent retail counters of the United Kingdom.

If you’ve called us already, thank you. Your details will remain anonymous, as promised. If you are suffering in your area, and you haven’t yet called us – please, get in touch on 020 7689 3376.

Together, let’s Smoke Them Out.