JTI has removed two more of its gantries from stores caught selling counterfeit tobacco and alcohol.

The owners of Alric Food & Wine in Harlesden, Brent and JB Patel and Son in Woolwich have both been prosecuted for selling illegal stock.

Counterfeit alcohol, non duty paid booze and cigarettes were found at Arlic Food & Wine late last year.

Officers from Brent Police, trading standards and HM Revenue and Customs discovered around 2,500 litres of illicit beer, 250 litres of spirits, 189 litres of wine and cigarettes.

The store had its alcohol licences suspended at the time but it has since been re-instated with a new set of conditions including a ban on the sale of any high strength beers, lagers and ciders. It has also been prohibited from selling single cans of beer to customers.

A raid on a JB Patel and Son on Woolwich New Road Woolwich newsagent uncovered 6,600 illegal cigarettes in the basement.

Its owner Jashbhia Patel was ordered to pay £5,891 at Bexley Magistrates Court on January 26 after pleading guilty to three charges including importation of tobacco without payment of duty and failure to ensure compliance with applicable safety requirements.

JTI decided to remove both tobacco gantries on 12 March.

JTI’s UK head of corporate affairs Paul Williams said: “Given the offences committed by these retailers JTI has decided that the removal of our gantries was the most appropriate course of action.

“This brings the total number of gantry removals in the past year to eight. JTI has had to do this as we continue to see a minority of independent retailers get sucked into this illegal trade, giving honest hard-working retailers a bad name.

“If this type of crime continues, customers who buy tobacco products will lose faith and trust in their local shops as the perception grows that the independent trade is rife with ‘dodgy cigs’.”

Report illicit sales to the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000.