Illicit tobacco is now more profitable than drug smuggling, according to the Scottish Grocers Federation (SGF) Parliament Cross Party Group on independence convenience stores.

A presentation from Police Scotland and HMRC told delegates that an investment of £1,000 in illicit tobacco could yield criminals and gangs £40,000. 

“I think Parliament is listening to retail concerns. It’s not just local though, it’s national, and the HMRC really needs to pull its finger out,” said Mo Razzaq of Family Shopper, Blantyre, Glasgow. 

“We’re talking about one in three cigarettes sold is illicit and customers are a lot more open about it.” 

Dr John Lee, SGF head of public affairs, said: “We hope this is the beginning of a fuller recognition of the impact on businesses and that illicit trade is a genuinely serious problem.”