Imperial Tobacco has announced the launch of its own anti-illicit trade (AIT) hotline.

The hotline – 0800 0495992 – will allow anyone who suspects illicit tobacco activity to report it easily and anonymously and replace the HMRC one on Imperial’s Suspect it? Report it! website as the primary telephone contact for AIT issues.

The hotline envisages quick and secure information sharing with relevant law enforcement authorities. It will also be used for reporting legitimate products being sold to under 18s and single sales.

The new initiative builds on SARA, a unique AIT app launched by Imperial last year. So far, information gathered via SARA has contributed to 55 seizures, equating to approximately 1.4 million cigarettes and 274kg of tobacco, the company claimed.

“Initiatives like SARA demonstrate that by revolutionising the way we process information from the trade and public alike we can continue to combat the vile illegal tobacco ‘industry’ and protect hard-working, honest retailers,” said James Hall, anti-illicit trade manager at Imperial.

“We hope to build on this success with our new hotline and, as always, urge anybody with any suspicions to report them ASAP.”