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    Middlesbrough c-store shut down over illegal vape sales

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    A Middlesbrough town centre store where bogus ‘nicotine-free’ vapes were seized has been shut down.

    Trading Standards Officers from Middlesbrough Council’s Public Protection Service secured a month-long closure order under anti-social behaviour laws against RK News whose owner Nirjeet Singh was found to be trading illegal vapes from his Gilkes Street store.

    A month-long closure order under anti-social behaviour laws was secured against the store by Trading Standards Officers from Middlesbrough Council’s Public Protection Service.

    In addition to the closure, the shopkeeper was ordered to pay £941 towards the council’s costs. A number of vapes were seized from the shop including some labelled as ‘nicotine free’ which were found to contain between 17mg and 20mg of nicotine after tests.

    Judith Hedgley, Middlesbrough Council’s head of public protection, said: “Most illicit vapes that we find appear to be designed and marketed at young people but anyone who buys vapes thinking they are nicotine-free but contain nicotine are at risk of developing a nicotine addiction.

    “Closure orders are helping us to deal robustly with traders who sell illicit cigarettes and illegal nicotine-containing vapes by removing their ability to sell such products, as well as prohibiting the overall use of shop premises.”

    Mayor Chris Cooke, the council’s executive member for public protection, said: “It is alarming that disposable vapes, especially those that claim to be nicotine-free but are in fact nicotine-based, are specifically designed and aimed at a younger market and therefore must be aimed at getting young people hooked on nicotine.

    “It is also a great concern that some retailers who trade in our town believe it is ok to sell such illegal products and seek to profit at the expense of the health of young people in Middlesbrough.

    “Steps will continue to be taken to identify and deal with rogue traders, seize illicit products and obtain closure orders, as well as prosecuting the worst offenders.”

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