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Illegal vapes seized across four shops in March and Chatteris

Almost 1,500 illegal vapes were seized from four shops in Chatteris and March on Monday (1).

These seizures were made in a multi-agency operation involving Trading Standards, Fenland District Council’s licensing team, and HMRC. The operation follows an influx of intelligence from concerned members of the public to Fenland Council and Trading Standards.

Earlier in the year, raids in Ely, Littleport, and Ramsey, lead to the seizure of 5,000 illegal vapes. These raids are part of ongoing multi-agency enforcement to tackle the supply of illegal tobacco and nicotine products.

Photo of vape products seized in March and Chatteris. Photo: Cambridgeshire County Council.
Photo of vape products seized in March and Chatteris. Photo: Cambridgeshire County Council.

In 2023, Trading Standards seized 8,800 vapes, over 26,000 illicit cigarettes, and 38 packs of hand-rolling tobacco in Cambridgeshire. Earlier this month three quarters of a tonne of illegal vapes which had been seized by Trading Standards were sent to a dedicated recycling facility.

Issues include vapes with tank sizes that are illegal in the UK due to the quantities of liquid they contain and vapes that wrongly state they contain no nicotine.

This follows the Government proposals announced earlier this year to ban disposable vapes and ensure vapes conform to plainer packaging requirements, tighter restrictions on display, and strict limits on flavouring to make them less appealing to children.

This week Australia has gone a step further, prohibiting the sale of vapes from premises other than pharmacies.

Peter Gell, service director regulatory services said: “These ongoing, targeted enforcement operations send a clear message to the shops that supply these products, and the organised crime gangs behind these crimes, that the sale of illegal vapes won’t be tolerated in Cambridgeshire. We are committed to taking a hard line with anyone we uncover perpetrating these crimes.

“The level of Intelligence we receive from the public and local law-abiding businesses is also indicative of local feeling towards these crimes. They don’t want these crimes being committed in their local communities, and we will continue to tackle it on their behalf.”

Anyone wishing to share intelligence or suspicions about criminal activity like this can report it online, anonymously at: www.keep-it-out.co.uk.

Alternatively, Trading Standard’s advice partner, the Citizens Advice Consumer Service, can be contacted on 0808 223 1133 Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm.

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