JTI has rolled out a nationwide media campaign in a bid to cripple the sale of illegal tobacco in the UK.

Running across more than 70 regional newspapers today (29 May), full page adverts highlight how illegal tobacco brings crime to local communities.

They also explain the action that JTI is taking to tackle the issue - including the removal of tobacco gantries from stores owners convicted of  selling illegal tobacco.

The campaign is expected to reach almost five million people.

Contact details for both HMRC and Crimestoppers are included on the adverts to encourage the public to report criminal activity.

Jeremy Blackburn, JTI head of communications, said: “By raising awareness of the dangers illegal tobacco represents we aim to increase the number of people reporting these crimes and criminals.

“Our commitment to support the actions of HMRC and Trading Standards is steadfast. It’s clear we must work together to eradicate this trend.

“Anyone who knows of criminals supplying illegal cigarettes in their area owe it to their local community to report them and can do so anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”