Northumberland shopkeepers warned over sale of illegal tabs

Illicit cigarettes
Illicit cigarettes

Shopkeepers in Northumberland who are tempted to sell illegal tobacco are being warned they could face more than a fine but could lose their livelihood.

Figures show that rogue shops are an increasing problem for illegal tobacco sales in the North East. In 2017, shops were the main source for one in four illegal tobacco buyers (23%). Private addresses, or tab houses, were still the main source for 46% of buyers.

Fresh, the regional programme for tobacco control, has launched a Keep It Out campaign to encourage people to report sales of illegal tobacco. Visit keep-it-out.co.uk to report local sales to trading standards with full anonymity.

Fresh director Ailsa Rutter said: “The trade in smuggled and fake tobacco is linked to organised crime and enables North East kids to smoke. Most people do not want it in their local community and it is great to see more and more people giving information to help keep it out.

“The vast majority of shopkeepers are honest and are appalled by the sale of illegal tobacco. However, the law is catching up with the dishonest few who think they can get away with it.”