Imperial removes gantry from Tyne and Wear retailer convicted of selling counterfeit plain pack cigarettes


A Tyne and Wear tobacco trader has had his gantry removed by Imperial after violating the terms and conditions of his contract, and he will no longer receive any sales support from our organisation.

Tajinder Singh, of Washington Wine and Convenience in Usworth, was convicted by magistrates for selling over-the-counter counterfeit cigarettes after over 10,000 were seized from the premises. His gantry was stocked with a mixture of both legitimate and counterfeit ‘plain’ packs.


James Hall, Anti-Illicit Trade Manager, Imperial Tobacco UK, comments: “Recent HMRC statistics estimate the most recent tobacco tax gap1 to be an all-time high £2.4bn, owing to a rise in the sales of non-duty paid contraband and counterfeit tobacco.


“The growing issue of the illicit tobacco trade continues to harm honest UK retailers and put hundreds of businesses across the country at risk. We were concerned before the implementation of the new regulations that standardised packaging would hinder – rather than help – in the fight against illegal tobacco, and cases like the above simply reinforce our contention.”


“We congratulate both Washington police and HMRC on this recent conviction and continue to offer our assistance in any matters relating to the detection and identification of illicit tobacco, but would suggest that the recent case involving Mr Singh is simply the tip of the iceberg.”


If any wholesalers or independent retailers have suspicions around the sale of illegal tobacco in their area, or have seen any plain packs in their locality they believe may be counterfeit, please act by contacting either the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000, or your local Trading Standards or Police. Alternatively, retailers can talk to their Imperial sales rep – ask about our new AIT app, SARA.


Remember, if you Suspect it? Report it!

Author: kimbarnard

Share This Post On