Global cigarette supplier JTI removes Chorley shop's tobacco gantry following licence removal

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An international cigarette supplier has removed its tobacco gantry from a Chorley shop following the discovery of illegal tobacco at the store.

JTI, whose products include Benson & Hedges, removed its tobacco gantry from Bunty’s in Weldbank Lane, Chorley following the discovery last year.

The gantry removal, JTI’s 35th since 2014, comes as part of the manufacturer’s continued efforts to combat the illicit trade via its Don’t Be Complicit in Illicit campaign.

READ MORE: Corner shop trader's 'illicit tobacco' appeal fails

In July 2018, the store lost its licence to sell alcohol due the seizure of 78 packs of cigarettes, which were either counterfeit or not for sale in the UK.

There were also a number of tobacco order lists suggesting a substantial sale of similar illegal tobacco products worth thousands of pounds.

Owner Ramesh Karsan Varsini subsequently appealed the decision which was rejected at a hearing at Chorley Magistrates Court last month.

Charlie Cunningham-Reid, UK Head of Corporate Affairs, said: “Once again JTI has demonstrated its commitment to take action against retailers found to be selling illegal tobacco.

"Our action, supporting those of law enforcement agencies, serves as a warning to any retailer tempted to sell illegal tobacco products.”

Cunningham-Reid added: “JTI calls on other category partners in the distribution chain to join us by withdrawing their support from any retailer who sells illegal tobacco.”

To protect their business any retailer who has any information on those selling illegal tobacco should contact the HMRC Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887, Trading Standards on 03454 040506, or independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

They can also go to JTI’s Don’t Be Complicit in Illicit website at www.jtiadvance.co.uk/dontbecomplicit