Imperial recalls sales support from Manchester store after retailer convicted of selling counterfeit tobacco

Representative iStock image of counterfeit tobacco

Imperial has removed its gantry from a Manchester-based retailer following the discovery of violations of the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016, implying the store will no longer receive any sales support from Imperial Tobacco.

Following a tip-off from a member of the public, Manchester City Council’s Trading Standards visited Jilani’s News, located on Wilmslow Road, Manchester. During the visit, a number of illicit tobacco products were seized, including 495 cigarettes and 168g of rolling and chewing tobacco – all of which did not have the required labelling and health warnings, reports said.

Despite numerous attempts by officers to contact the store owner, Jilani, to invite him to attend a formal interview following the seizure, he failed to attend, and officers moved to prosecute.

Jilani was given an 18-week custodial sentence at Manchester Crown Court as this followed a previous 24-week sentence suspended for two years, and the new offences were carried out during their period of suspension. In addition, Jilani was ordered to pay costs of £1,120, plus a £128 victim surcharge.

James Hall, Anti-Illicit Trade Manager, Imperial Tobacco UK, said: “We are fully supportive of law enforcement agencies in their endeavour to demonstrate that illicit tobacco trade will not be tolerated. It harms honest retailers and damages communities. We applaud the member of public who notified the authorities and the local Trading Standards teams for securing this conviction.”

“Our dedicated anti-illicit trade app, SARA, launched in January 2018, has now received over 2900 reports of potential illegal trade activity which we have shared with law enforcement. We are aware that seizures have been made in premises reported in 259 of these and 130 social media posts have also been removed,” Hall said.