County Durham shop ordered to close after more than 1,500 illegal vapes worth £16,000 found on the premises

A shop has been ordered to close after more than 1,500 illegal vapes were discovered on the premises.

The illegal vapes were found inside Easi-Vape in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, on three separate occasions since October 2021 and are worth in excess of £16,000.

The store has now been told to shut for two months, after Durham County Council was granted a closure order from Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court.

Magistrates heard the owner of the business, on Newgate Street, had been advised of the legal requirements relating to vapes in October 2021.

This followed a test purchase from the premises by council officers which resulted in a non-compliant product being sold. The products were not registered with the appropriate body and the tank sizes exceeded the 2 ml limit required by the regulations.

During an inspection of the premises by council officers in June 2023, 871 non-compliant vapes were found in the store room. The products were seized and found to be worth approximately £8,700.

The owner was issued a warning and provided with further guidance.

Further intelligence received in January this year led to enforcement action being taken by the local authority in March. A further 746 non-compliant vapes worth around £7,500 were seized from the premises and an associated vehicle.

The council consulted with retailers, the public and a school in the locality, on the potential for a closure order to be sought under the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014. They were all in support of the order.

In response to the consultation, the shop owner emailed the council and apologised. He said he is deeply ashamed of his actions and is an honest person who has made mistakes.

The shop owner claimed he had traded from the premises for 10 years and had never had any issues with Durham Constabulary or the council.

The local authority applied to the court for an order to be made and magistrates imposed one for two months, recognising the illegal products constituted a nuisance to local residents and businesses.

Gary Carr, strategic regulation manager at Durham County Council, said: “Vapes – electronic cigarettes – are a useful tool in helping smokers to quit. However, products need to comply with regulations covering tank size and nicotine strength, which are in place with the health of users in mind.

“We know the overwhelming majority of traders in County Durham are law-abiding but in this case products were found which breached regulations on tank size and that is why we took the matter to court.

“We hope the fact Easi-Vape has been ordered to close for two months will serve as a warning to any shops tempted to trade in illegal products.”

View news Source: https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/county-durham-shop-ordered-close-29061912

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