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    Illegal vape sting brings three-month licence suspension for Lincoln store

    Non-compliant vapes seized from 24/7 Express Local store on Clasketgate in central Lincoln (Photo: City of Lincoln Council via LDRS)

    By: Ellis Karran, Local Democracy Reporter

    A convenience store in central Lincoln has been given a three-month licence suspension after selling a vape over five times the legal limit to a volunteer PCSO.

    The 24/7 Express Local store on Clasketgate has been issued this suspension following a licence review request by Lincolnshire Police, and it is active as of Thursday, May 23 — unless the business owners submit an appeal.

    The force obtained evidence of illegal vapes on the premises by sending a volunteer Police Community Support Officer into the shop, as part of a test operation with Trading Standards.

    PCSO Ian Porter filed in his report that he attended the 24/7 Express store in September 2023, requesting a vape of between 3,500 and 6,000 puffs.

    Despite initially being refused, the officer was presented with a box of 3,500-4,000 puff vapes, and he bought one for £14.99.

    By law, a vape can only hold around 2ml of liquid, which is the equivalent of 600 puffs. This means the vape sold to the volunteer PCSO was almost six times over the legal limit.

    Businesses caught selling non-compliant products could face prosecution and a fine of up to £5,000.

    The vape was exhibited by Trading Standards and found to be illegal, while further illicit vapes and a potentially non-duty paid bottle of German label tequila were also seized during a follow-up visit in January 2024.

    Illegal vape sting brings three-month licence suspension for Lincoln store
    24/7 Express Local store on Clasketgate in central Lincoln (Photo: LDRS)

    As well as this, officers noticed that the majority of items at the shop did not have price markings on them.

    In a letter to the shop, Lincolnshire’s Trading Standards said it was the third time it had issued guidance to the business on the sale of vapes.

    Documents reveal that there had been no representation from the licence holder at the time of the report, which was on April 16.

    Following a review, a decision was made to suspend the shop’s licence for three months, with officers believing licensing objectives of “prevention of crime and disorder and public safety have been undermined.”

    Licensable activities at the shop are the supply of alcohol and sale of late night refreshments, with the store’s opening hours being 24 hours a day, seven days a week, as the name would suggest.

    (Local Democracy Reporting Service)

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