Trading Standards officers from Stockport Council seized £80,000 of illegal single use vapes during a joint operation with Greater Manchester Police (GMP).
Six persons were also arrested as part of Operation Rimini, a dedicated response to tackling reports of offences in Stockport town centre including theft, shoplifting and anti-social behaviour.
Council officers visited a number of premises in Stockport town centre and Edgeley on Thursday 21 September, and seized the vapes from three, which contained more than the legal limit of liquid in the chamber, with some also showing incorrect health warnings.
The following week, Trading Standards worked again with GMP officers, this time from Stockport’s West Neighbourhood Policing Team, and seized hundreds more illegal vapes from one shop.
“There is no place for unscrupulous vape sellers in Stockport. Unregulated vapes are deliberately and dangerously targeted at young people, damaging their health. Whilst the move away from smoking tobacco cigarettes by our youngsters is welcome news, there is clearly a new challenge with preventing their access to vapes,” Cllr Frankie Singleton, cabinet member for communities, culture & sport, said.
“The seizures by our Trading Standards team, with our GMP partners, of such a high number of illegal, single use, brightly coloured and fruity flavoured vapes indicates the scale of the problem. High capacity vapes which include more than 2ml of liquid or deliver more than 600 puffs cannot be sold in this country and we are totally committed to removing them from our neighbourhoods.”
On the Stockport Town Centre and Edgeley day of action police also carried out 14 stop-searches, with arrests made for offences including burglary, theft, possession of a bladed article and breaching court orders.
The day of action was in response to concerns from the local community. This joint operation took place around the Peel Centre, Merseyway, St Petersgate and Edgeley as part of Operation Rimini.
“This was another great day with lots of positive feedback from the community and partners; particularly pleasing was the partnership approach,” Sergeant James Senior, of GMP’s Stockport Central Neighbourhood Policing Team, said.
“These days of action are all about arresting people and taking a zero-tolerance approach to those who conduct retail crime and anti-social behaviour in the town centre.
“Our partnership work with Trading Standards and Stockport Council’s enforcement officers meant we were able to conduct premises visits and take a huge amount of illegal vapes off the streets.”