Illegal vapes worth £7400 seized from Plymouth store

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Illegal vapes seized from a store in Plymouth (Photo: Devon County Council)

Illegal vapes with a street value of approximately £7400 worth has been seized from a store in Plymouth following an joint operation by Trading Standards and police officers.

Heart of the South West Trading Standards and Devon and Cornwall Police have visited a number of knife retailers as part of the Police’s Operation Sceptre campaign. Trading Standards were ensuring that traders were following age restrictions on knife sales.

Trading Standards also used the joint working opportunity to follow up on intelligence they had received regarding non-compliant vapes being sold.

One visit resulted in the successful seizure of 740 ‘ELUX 3500’ disposable vapes. The vape’s tank size was not only five times the legally permitted 2ml maximum, but they were not labelled with the contact details of the producer’s EU representative, nor listed with the Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.

The confiscated vapes, priced at £10 each, were voluntarily surrendered by the store owner and will now be disposed of.

As a continuation of Operation Spectre, a number of engagement and advice visits were also made to premises across Exeter.

“This is an excellent example of Trading Standards coming together to work efficiently alongside the Police force in Devon. The positive outcome is a testament to their communication and close team working,” Cllr Rufus Gilbert, cabinet member for economic recovery and skills at Devon County Council, said.

“This Operation is also working proactively to play an important role in educating the local store owners to be strict in following regulations to protect their livelihoods. Underage sales are a criminal offence and any premises found not to be complying with the law could face prosecution in the Courts and a loss of their licence, removing a large source of revenue.”

Alex Fry, operations manager intelligence and investigations, Heart of the South West’s Trading Standards Service, added: “We’ve seen a huge increase in vaping as an alternative to cigarettes over the last few years. Originally for those attempting to give up smoking, the bright colours and sweet flavours are now worryingly attracting younger audiences and so it is essential store owners remain vigilant when selling these products.

“Illegal vapes, such as those seized during these visits, have an additional public health risk. They often have excessively high levels of nicotine, over the limits set by law and will not have been authorised by MHRA. This makes them highly addictive and potentially harmful to a person’s health.”