Imperial Tobacco Limited today announced that Mr. Girirathan Cyrilratnaraja, who owns the ‘Mala Mini Mart’ store on High Road in Wembley, had the tobacco display unit removed on Monday, 16 January.
This was after the trader was found to be in fundamental breach of the conditions of his Agreement with the company, namely not to engage in the sale of illicit tobacco.
Peter Nelson, Imperial Tobacco Anti-Illicit Trade Manager, reflected: “Imperial has a strict ‘no tolerance’ policy when retailers have been convicted of selling illegal tobacco. It is important to remember that it is not a victimless crime, threatening legitimate local businesses – around 1 in 81 local corner shops in the UK are facing closure as a direct result of illegal tobacco – as well as funding organised criminal activity”.
“As well as removing Mr Cyrilratnaraja’s gantry, Imperial Tobacco has also withdrawn all sales support and revoked the trader’s membership of our ‘ignite’ retailer reward scheme”.
“Imperial will continue to work collaboratively with legitimate traders and law enforcement to fight illicit trade.”“If you have any suspicions regarding illegal tobacco where you live, please act by contacting either the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000, or your local Trading Standards or Police. Remember, if you Suspect it? Report it!”
Tom Miller, Brent Council Cabinet Member for Stronger Communities, said:
“It is simply unacceptable for businesses to trade in a way that puts the public’s health at risk. Shops that sell tobacco products have a responsibility to ensure they are purchased from legitimate traders carrying the proper health warnings, so that the dangers of smoking are made clear to those who choose to buy them, and to ensure that they do not undercut business who are trading legitimately”.
“We will continue to work with business owners in the borough to help them to get things right but will not hesitate in taking formal action against the small minority who have total disregard for the law.”
1 Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association, 2016