Table 3

Illustrative quotes from FOI documents that illustrate the purpose of PMI’s UTPs in Scottish Councils

1. Building relationships & influencing perceptions
 Meetings & presentations‘He is meeting XXXXXX in Aberdeen on Thursday at 11 am to discuss illicit cigarettes. Wants to know if Shire (Aberdeenshire) ‘want to do similar’. His number is XXXXX. Can you give him a call to attend the meeting or set up a separate meeting?’Aberdeenshire16 Sept 2013
 Offering training on illicit ‘The Tobacco Co that I couldn’t remember the name of last week when I was speaking to you is Philip Morris. Apparently XXXX can offer assistance and training! Think one of the Ayrshires was using him as he can provide tobacco readers. I will find out next meeting what he does and exactly how good he was!’ (email between two Trading Standards officers)Renfrewshire18 Sept 2013
 Information sharing (not necessarily actionable) ‘I did explain to XXXX that unfortunately our test purchase work in the UK in general is only for intelligence. I am sorry about that but it is a company policy.’ (PMI consultant email to trading standards officer)Stirling and22 Nov 2013
‘In order for us to follow-up the information we received last week via Falkirk Council Trading Standards Service relating to the Alloa premises we need to seek a warrant for the private residence. For us to do this we require rather more information than ‘TP met XXXX, XXXX took him to private address and sold’ or ‘Met male in bar said he could supply, product arrived by car later.’’
(email from Trading Standards officer to PMI consultant)
Clackmannanshire25 Nov 2013
2. Information seeking ‘Coming up to Fife next week – spend 2–3 days here. XXXX noted down a couple of areas/towns that TS feels could be potential problems, however can also email XXXX re any shops etc we feels (sic) may be of interest. XXXX will provide feedback to TS on anything of relevance found.’ (trading standards minutes of meeting with PMI consultant)Fife13 Nov 2013
‘Any help you can give us as to likely areas or locations would be appreciated.’ (Email from PMI consultant to Trading Standards officer)Renfrewshire23 Oct 2013
‘I appreciate that it is a very busy time for you but any pointers for the guys would be useful.’ (email from PMI consultant to Trading Standards officer)Renfrewshire28 Oct 2013
3. Creating publicity ‘…our local press have contacted the Council regarding what action we are taking at the above market (Ayr Sunday market). They say they have been contacted by a company to say illicit sales are taking place at the market…. Is there someone in your organisation that could update us on what line you have taking (sic) in your release to the papers?’ (email from trading standards officer to PMI consultant)South AyrshireNov 2013 (exact date unclear)
‘I have been forwarded your email addressed to XXXX, who is our consultant on the illicit trade. Please find attached our press releases for this area.’ (email from PMI staff, illicit trade strategies & prevention to Trading Standards officer)South Ayrshire27 Nov 2013
4. Overestimating the scale of the problem
 ‘Illicit tobacco trade is booming’ (incongruous statements to Trading Standards and the press)’ ‘Ayr was by far the lowest amount of buys we have had so far in over 20 towns/cities in the UK.’ (email from PMI consultant to trading standards officer)South Ayrshire16 Oct 2013
‘Ayr was one of the areas in which we found it easy to access… We found that the illicit tobacco trade in Ayr is booming.’ (PMI consultant quote in “Terrorist Cigs Link; Loyalists in smokes racket”, Scottish Star)2 Dec 2013
  • FOI, Freedom of Information; PMI, Philip Morris International; TS, Trading Standards Agency; UTPs, undercover test purchases.