Illegal vapes seized in trading standards raids

Hundreds of illegal disposable vapes worth £5,500 have been seized by trading standards officers following raids on a number of shops in Hartlepool.

The officers from Hartlepool Borough Council mounted the operations following complaints about the products being sold, and sometimes to children – both of which are criminal offences.

Disposable vapes have become very popular but they are strictly controlled to protect public health.

Ian Harrison, the Council’s Trading Standards and Licensing Manager, explained: “The rapid emergence and increasing popularity of disposable vapes has led to a number of illegal products entering the market.

“Disposable vapes must carry certain safety warnings and must only have a maximum refillable tank size of 2ml. The illegal vapes have a tank which exceeds this limit.

Ian Harrison with some of the illegal vapes

Ian Harrison with some of the illegal vapes

“We were able to identify target premises because packaging from the disposable vapes is invariably dropped on the street, creating a signpost to premises selling these illegal items.

“We have removed almost 500 illegal vapes from local shops and we have begun to use child volunteers to see if shops are willing to sell to them – in the same way that we target premises making under age sales of cigarettes and alcohol. Anyone found to be selling vapes, or any other age restricted products, to children will be prosecuted.”

He said investigations into the vape seizures were on-going, and he appealed for anyone with information regarding the sale of illegal vapes or the supply of vapes to children to call the Trading Standards Team on (01429) 523362.

Claire Robinson, Hartlepool Borough Council’s Public Health Principal, added: “Legal vapes play a part in supporting people to stop smoking. However, removing illegal products to protect people from harm is really important, so we welcome the work of the Trading Standards Team in seizing these items.”

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