A Manchester-based retailer has had his gantry removed by Imperial following discovery of violations of the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016, and they will no longer receive any sales support from Imperial Tobacco.

Following a tip off from a member of public, Manchester City Council’s Trading Standards visited Jilani’s News, located on Wilmslow Road, Manchester, supported by a tobacco detection dog. During the visit, a quantity of illicit tobacco products were seized, including 495 cigarettes and 168g of rolling and chewing tobacco – all of which did not have the required labelling and health warnings. Despite numerous attempts by officers to contact the store owner, Mr Jilani, to invite him to attend a formal interview following the seizure, he failed to attend, and officers moved to prosecute.

As a result of the raid by Manchester City Council’s Trading Standards team, Mr Jilani was given an 18-week custodial sentence at Manchester Crown Court as this followed a previous 24-week sentence suspended for two years, and the new offences were carried out during their period of suspension. In addition, Mr Jilani was ordered to pay costs of £1,120, plus an £128 victim surcharge.

James Hall, Anti-Illicit Trade Manager, Imperial Tobacco UK, comments: “We are fully supportive of law enforcement agencies in their endeavour to demonstrate that illicit tobacco trade will not be tolerated. It harms honest retailers and damages communities. We applaud the member of public who notified the authorities and the local Trading Standards teams for securing this conviction.”

Imperial continues to assist in the reporting and investigation of these reprehensible activities wherever possible. Hall explains: “Our dedicated anti-illicit trade app, SARA, launched in January 2018, has now received over 2900 reports of potential illegal trade activity which we have shared with law enforcement. We are aware that seizures have been made in premises reported in 259 of these and 130 social media posts have also been removed.

“It’s great to see news of this latest seizure of illicit tobacco by Trading Standards. However, Trading Standards can only act on information regarding illicit tobacco trade when it’s reported to them. Recent figures show a staggering 78% of those who are aware of illicit tobacco being sold in the last 12 months haven’t reported it[i].

“To truly address the problem, we need everyone to be alert and take action by reporting any suspected illicit activity to the relevant authorities, as was done by the member of public in this case. We urge everyone to follow their lead and contact the appropriate authorities with concerns of illegal tobacco activity in their locality, to speak to their Imperial rep about SARA or phone Imperial Tobacco directly on 0800 0495992.”

[i] Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association (TMA) 2020

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