A COVENTRY retailer has been forced to sell up after multiple raids by Trading Standards officers.
The owner of Babylon Halal in King William Street has sold his shop following the discovery of numerous concealments and illegal tobacco, which was being fed into the shop via a tube from the flat above the premises.
The store also had its gantry confiscated and sales support withdrawn by manufacturer Imperial Tobacco.
Peter Nelson, Imperial Tobacco anti-illicit trade manager, said: “Babylon Halal has been involved in the persistent sale of illicit tobacco, and was therefore in breach of our strict ‘no tolerance’ policy.
“Imperial continues to work collaboratively with legitimate traders and law enforcement to fight illicit trade, and would like to extend our gratitude to Coventry Trading Standards for their sustained approach to illegal tobacco.”
Coventry Trading Standards (TS) were presented with individual and team-based awards by the Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) for ‘Excellence in Anti-Counterfeiting Enforcement’.
The tobacco manufacturer said Coventry is one of its busiest areas in terms of AIT activity – and is recognised as one the UK’s central ‘hubs’ regarding illicit business offshoots.
Its AIT team, which conducts test purchases, has closed three retail premises in the last six months.
Meanwhile, Coventry TS has seized several million illegal sticks this year, including counterfeit Imperial products Regal, Richmond and Golden Virginia.
Mr Nelson said if any retailers or customers have suspicious of the sale of illicit tobacco in their area they should contact either the customs hotline on 0800 59 5000 or the local TS or police.