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    Two premises in Seaham closed following seizure of illegal cigarettes and vapes worth £7,000

    Some of the items seized from Seaham shops (Photo: Durham County Council)

    Two Seaham businesses have been ordered to close for three months after more than £7,000 worth of illegal cigarettes and vapes were seized.

    Peterlee Magistrates’ Court served closure orders on European Mini Market, on Church Street, and Ardo’s Barbers, of Adelaide Row, in Seaham.

    Durham County Council’s community protection team carried out an inspection of European Mini Market following a test purchase of two packets of illicit cigarettes.

    No illegal products were found at the shop, however officers found that the premises was linked to Ardo’s Barbers by a fire escape passage.

    Officers carried out an inspection of Ardo’s Barbers later that day, where 420 non-compliant vapes and a small number of packs of cigarettes, valued at around £5,539 in total, were seized.

    The products were confirmed to have been stored on behalf of European Mini Market, which prompted an immediate revisit to the shop, where a bag and suitcase containing further illicit cigarettes, hand rolling tobacco and vapes totalling £2,157 in value were seized.

    The court granted the closure order on the grounds of causing a nuisance to the local community and the businesses were ordered to pay £1,709 each in costs.

    “The sale of illegal cigarettes and tobacco products has a significant impact on the community. It poses a serious health risk to people and makes it easier for young people to purchase illicit products. It also has a financial impact on other businesses in the area which are compliant with the law,” Joanne Waller, Durham County Council’s head of community protection, said.

    “This order shows that retailers who flout the law by selling illicit products will face a visit from our officers and they can face closure and court action.”

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