Stalybridge after gantry removal

Two stores in the north-east of England have had their tobacco gantries removed for selling illicit products.

Japan Tobacco International (JTI) has removed its equipment from Go Local in Wallasey and Finlays News in Stalybridge following test purchases in 2023 that found both stores to be selling illegal products.

Wallasey After Gantry Removal

As a result, JTI has terminated its relationship with the stores and removed its gantries. 

It is hoped the action will send a clear message to those selling or tempted to sell illegal tobacco products, that when caught, their actions will have consequences.  

The evidence gathered against these two stores, together with evidence of further 478 stores selling illegal tobacco and/or vapes last year through JTI’s test purchasing programme, has already been made available to law enforcement agencies, so further legal ramifications may follow. 

Public affairs manager at JTI, Ian Howell said: “The illegal tobacco trade remains a serious problem in the UK. In fact, an analysis of data from the Office for National Statistics undertaken by JTI suggests that spending on illegal tobacco products in the UK is double the amount spent on narcotics. 

“With the government’s proposed generation ban, we feel there is a real risk that this could only exacerbate the issue of illicit trade, handing more money to serious and organised crime groups that manufacture and sell illegal tobacco and vapes.”  

If anyone is aware of a store that is selling illicit tobacco or vapes, they should report them by calling Trading Standards through the Citizen Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133 or contact HM Revenue & Customs’ Fraud Hotline (0800 788 887), or Crimestoppers (0800 555 111).  

For further support, retailers can reach out to JTI’s Customer Care line on 0800 163503 or visit JTI’s trade retailer website