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    Shop owner handed 200 hours community service and over £10,000 fine for selling illegal vapes

    Illegal vape seized from a Royal Vapes shop (Photo: Warwickshire County Council)

    A vape shop owner in Warwickshire and his business have been together fined a total of £10,297 in fines after pleading guilty to selling illegal vapes.

    Luke Benjamin Spencer, director of Warwickshire Vape Ltd, trading as Royal Vapes, has also been ordered to complete 200 hours unpaid work under a 12-month community order, besides paying £4592 in prosecution costs and a £114 victim surcharge

    His business was fined £910 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £4590 and a £91 victim surcharge.

    The offences related to the sale of disposable vapes that contained more nicotine containing liquid than the legal 2ml limit and vapes that used images and wording associated with trademarked sweet products, specifically Skittles and Ribena.

    Officers of the Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards Service seized hundreds of illegal disposable nicotine vapes from Royal Vapes, which has premises in Kenilworth, Leamington Spa, Nuneaton and Warwick.

    The business had been warned to remove the products from sale but had failed to do so. Vapes seized included Elux Legend 3500 Blueberry Raspberry and R&M Tornado 7000 Skittles.

    Spencer argued that the offending had not been deliberate. However, magistrates heard that he had been in business selling vapes for 10 years and had a staff of 18 employees and found it surprising that Spencer said he was naïve.

    Both Spencer, aged 41 of Haddon Road, Leamington Spa, and Warwickshire Vape Ltd pleaded guilty to seven offences at Coventry Magistrates Court on 26 February.

    Magistrates considered there to be high culpability, and high level of harm in respect of the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 offences and aggravating factors of financial gain, risk to others and failure to comply with advice from Trading Standards.

    Warwickshire county councillor Andy Crump, portfolio holder for community safety, said: “Illegal vapes, which can contain dangerous levels of nicotine, a highly addictive drug, should not be on sale in Warwickshire. Nicotine poisoning can cause a range of problems including nausea, vomiting, pain in the stomach or gut, or diarrhoea.”

    “Trading Standards Officers tried to work with this business to remove these illegal products from sale, but in vain, leaving them with no option but to take court action to protect the health of consumers.”

    Magistrates also granted a deprivation order for the forfeiture and destruction of over 500 illegal nicotine inhaling vapes seized from the business.

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