Retailers punished after illicit tobacco finds

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An independent retailer based in Hull has been jailed for five years for smuggling tobacco into the UK, according to a media audit by JTI.

More than 1.1 million cigarettes and 736kg of roll your own were found in a storage unit rented by the owner of Bekhal General Store.

In addition, a retailer based in Huddersfield has been banned from selling alcohol after fake cigarettes containing asbestos and rat poison were found during a raid at International Express in December. More than £5,000 worth of illicit tobacco was seized over two store raids.

Meanwhile, Wakefield-based retailer Sun Mini Market has lost its alcohol license after 500,000 counterfeit cigarettes and 46kg of rolling tobacco were seized in October 2017. The value of the illicit goods was estimated to be worth £150,000.

In another case, a Gainsborough shop owner was given a suspended four-week sentence for offences related to counterfeit tobacco found at the store in September 2017. The retailer was also ordered to pay more than £3,000 in costs.

In total there were 35 incidents involving illicit tobacco in March, 18 prosecutions, and 17 seizures.