The amount of time that retailers spend in cash and carries is likely to increase once a tobacco display ban has been enforced in April.

The ban will require tobacco retailers to observe a number of new procedures while purchasing tobacco products.

The regulations, which will be enforced by Trading Standards, require that all depots which are open to non-tobacco trade customers sell tobacco products from windowless tobacco rooms.

Tobacco retailers will have to undergo a series of checks before gaining access to these rooms to ensure that only legitimate traders enter.

Products will also have to be covered when being moved around the cash and carry, including on the journey from the tobacco room to the till point, and from the till point to the exit. Failure to do so could result in a £5,000 fine. Tobacco products can, however, be uncovered during the transaction, and once in the car park.

A spokesman for Bestway Group described the legislation as “bureaucracy at its worse”.

He added: “The new legislation has been dumped on us with very little notice before April when it comes in and will cost us thousands to implement.”