Clare Deacon, who runs Halton post office in Leeds, got in touch after reading the article about Justine Vokes in our 1 June issue (‘What a fag’). Justine was in search of a legal cigarette vending machine that came fully stocked on a ‘pay as you sell’ basis. We didn’t have much hope of finding such a company.

Clare, who does about £500 a week in tobacco, recommended Baccostore as being “ideal”. She says the company was started by some past employees of Sinclair Collis which was, prior to the ban on cigarette vending, a big player.

“It would suit her down to the ground,” she says. “No fees to pay, no contract. They bring the stock once a week and keep you up to speed on any price changes. I make about 30-40p on a packet. The machine also does tobacco. Only rule is that you have to keep it out of sight. We keep it in the stock room.”

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Then I got an email from Gavan Hindmarsh, director of KG Distributors. He wrote: “We operate these very same cigarette dispensing machines in retail outlets across the country. We are not well heard of, but we are all ex-Sinclair Collis staff who decided that there was still a market for these retail units, and started our own business when were all made redundant in 2016.

“At present I tend to rely on word of mouth from my happy customers to build my business, as I am still in the process of setting up a website.” (His number is 079865 29885.)

“I am located in the North East of England, mainly the Newcastle, Gateshead and Sunderland areas, but I have colleagues who operate in the Midlands, Manchester and South of the country.”

Sounds like they’ve got it covered.