Tobacco manufacturer JTI has removed its gantry from a Leicester convenience store after its owners were prosecuted for selling illegal tobacco.

Sudhir Radia and Suresh Radia of Radia’s Superstore pleaded guilty to possession of tobacco products which didn’t carry the legally required health warnings.

They were each fined £1,000 plus costs by Leicester magistrates.

Paul Williams, UK head of corporate affairs for JTI, commented: “Given the fines imposed on these retailers we decided that the removal of our gantry was the most appropriate course of action. 

“A minority of independent retailers who get sucked into this illegal trade are giving honest hard-working retailers a bad name. Customers who buy tobacco products will eventually lose faith and trust in their local independent shop if a perception grows that the independent trade is rife with dodgy cigs. 

“Our commitment to support the actions of HMRC and Trading Standards is steadfast so that we can work together to eradicate this trend. 

“This prosecution, coupled with our action, clearly demonstrates that this crime does not pay. Let’s be clear, retailers who sell illegal tobacco risk a criminal conviction, no further support from JTI and where we own the tobacco gantry a risk of losing that too.

“I would encourage anyone who is aware of this illegal activity taking place in their town or community to do the right thing and report it to the authorities using the Customs hotline – 0800 595 000,” he added.