Tobacco manufacturer JTI has ripped a cigarette gantry out of a store where rogue retailers were caught selling non-UK duty paid tobacco. By Ed Chadwick
Sudhir Radia and Suresh Radia were convicted of possessing tobacco products including more than 2,000 cigarettes, 650g of loose tobacco and 200g of Tulsi Mix chewing tobacco.
No duty had been paid on any of the products, which featured only foreign language packaging.
The products were seized in a raid at the Radia Superstore in Leicester and the pair were each fined £1,000 plus costs.
The Benson & Hedges manufacturer sent contractors to seize its gantry from the store on 18 June.
The retailers are the third to have their gantry removed by JTI in the last 12 months and the company has warned it will take action against any retailer who breaks the law.
Let’s be clear, retailers who sell illegal tobacco risk a criminal conviction, no further support from JTI and, where we own the tobacco gantry, a risk of losing that too
Paul Williams, JTI’s UK head of corporate affairs, said: “A minority of independent retailers who get sucked into this illegal trade are giving honest hard-working retailers a bad name. Customers who buy tobacco products will eventually lose faith and trust in their local independent shop if a perception grows that the independent trade is rife with ‘dodgy cigs’.
“Let’s be clear, retailers who sell illegal tobacco risk a criminal conviction, no further support from JTI and, where we own the tobacco gantry, a risk of losing that too.”
JTI took a gantry from a Cheltenham store last October after the owner was jailed for selling non-UK duty paid tobacco.
And in March this year, it removed a gantry at an Aberdeen store after the owner repeatedly made underage sales.
Backing JTI’s tough stance, NFRN chief executive Paul Baxter said: “Any retailer who sells counterfeit or non duty paid tobacco gives the rest of the sector a bad name.”
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