Taking down illicit traders

Shredded illegal cigarettes

IMPERIAL tobacco has removed the tobacco gantry from a London-based retailer.

Karson Mepani, of Mepani News Kings News, was convicted by magistrates for possession of counterfeit tobacco.

A raid by local Trading Standards officers resulted in the discovery and seizure of 5,200 illegal products.

Having violated the terms and conditions of his contract with Imperial by possessing counterfeit tobacco, Mepani will no longer receive any sales support from the organisation.

James Hall, anti-illicit trade manager at Imperial Tobacco UK, warned that enforcement authorities and tobacco manufacturers alike “continue to demonstrate that the illicit tobacco trade will not be tolerated.”

“It harms honest retailers and damages communities,” he said.

Hall also highlighted Imperial Tobacco’s reporting app as a tool for retailers who wish to report illicit trade.

He said: “Our dedicated anti-illicit trade app, SARA, launched in January 2018 and since that time we’ve received almost 2,000 reports of potential illegal tobacco sales.

“This has resulted in 160 positive seizures and the removal of 126 social media posts.

“We continue to urge any retailers aware of illegal tobacco activity in their locality to contact the appropriate authorities.

“Alternatively, they should ask their Imperial rep about SARA.”