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    Darlington c-stores ordered to close for selling illegal vapes, cigarettes

    Image by Darlington Borough Council

    Two stores in Darlington have been closed down for three months following a joint operation conducted by Darlington Trading Standards and Durham Constabulary targeting those suspected of supplying illegal vapes and cigarettes.

    With effect from June 18, two stores- Darlington Mini Market, 127 Gladstone Street, Darlington and S V Mini Market, 111 Gladstone Street, are the subject of Premise Closure Orders until Sept 17.

    Both premises have been under investigation by Darlington Trading Standards following several complaints about the sale of illegal vapes and cigarettes including to children. During multiple inspections of the premises, Trading Standards officers seized illegal products.

    An application for the premises closure order was heard on June 18 at Peterlee Magistrates Court. Magistrates granted the closure order against the retail premises after hearing evidence in relation to the criminal activity and nuisance. The court also heard how on serving a Premise Closure Notice officers from the trading standards team had discovered 61 packs of illegal hand rolling tobacco in a holdall in one of the stores. The Magistrates deemed the order was necessary to prevent further criminal behaviour.

    The action follows extensive investigation work and intelligence gathering under Operation Nightstar into the supply of illicit and over-strength goods in Darlington, and the sale of vapes to children. Criminal offences are under investigation into the illegal supply of vapes from premises within the Town.

    Shaun Trevor, Trading Standards and animal Health Manager for Darlington Borough Council said, “The safety of our community is important to us and Darlington Trading Standards will continue to use every available tool to stop traders supplying illegal cigarettes and vapes, especially to children. Our zero tolerance approach is clear; businesses who flout the law will face consequences.

    “These Closure Orders will have an instant and substantial impact on this area of town. Across the town, there is ongoing multi-agency enforcement to tackle the supply of illegal tobacco and nicotine products. Darlington trading standards team work very hard with partner agencies to stem the trade in illegal vapes and would urge anyone with information which may assist them to report it. Reporting to Trading Standards can be done anonymously using an online reporting form.”

    Inspector Jim O’Connor, from Darlington Neighbourhood Police Team, said, “Illicit and dangerous tobacco and vapes can not only cause serious harm to people’s health, but the proceeds are often invested into organised crime and can help fund more serious and violent offences.

    “Supplying these products to underage children can also open them up to potential exploitation and criminality – if you are doing this, then you can expect a visit from us.

    “We know that our communities will not tolerate the antisocial behaviour and criminality that these activities bring. If you have any information regarding potential criminality in your community then please report it to us – we will always act on intelligence submitted to us, as these closure orders have shown.”

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