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£10,000 of illegal vapes, tobacco, and other products seized by trading standards officers

Published: Friday, 15th March 2024

Trading standards officers are continuing work to protect residents by confiscating a substantial amount of illegal vapes and tobacco.

Trading standards officers are continuing work to protect residents by confiscating a substantial amount of illegal vapes and tobacco.

On Tuesday (5 March), Stoke-on-Trent City Council conducted an illegal tobacco and vapes exercise. This was part of National Operations CeCe and Joseph which aim to tackle the sale of illegal tobacco and vapes. The team worked with the assistance of Staffordshire Police and Immigration Officers along with the assistance of a tobacco detection team from Wagtail UK.

The operation aimed to uphold consumer safety and protect public health by rooting out unlawful practices within communities.

In total, there were three premises visited. The first premise was in Fenton where a total of 194 vapes, 3.4kg HRT, 349 packs cigarettes were concealed in a hydraulic ceiling compartment controlled by a fob, which would only work when the light was switched off – vapes were hidden in 2 concealments controlled by electromagnets but would not open even with electrics off. As a result, a crowbar was used to open the compartment to seize the illegal products.

The second premise was in Longton where the trading standard officers found 64 illegal vapes, 3 packet of illegal cigarettes, 43 packs illegal shisha, 27 unsafe charcoal heaters and 5 counterfeit prime key rings.

The final premise visited was in Burslem where officers seized 505 illegal vapes hidden in pull out trays in a rear store room located on top of the fridge and on the counter. Immigration officers also dealt with one illegal worker.

The total genuine retail value of the illegal tobacco was £7700, comprising 352 packs of cigarettes, 3.4kg hand rolling tobacco, and 2.15kg of illegal shisha.

The total value of vapes seized was £10,000 comprising 763 illegal vapes which were either over the 2ml tank size, and illegal labelling.

Councillor Amjid Wazir, cabinet member for city pride, enforcement, and sustainability said: “Our trading standards team have been doing a fantastic job to crackdown the sale of illegal products in our city. The sale of these illegal products in the city will not be tolerated and anyone who is found to be dealing in these products will face consequences. 

“The trade in illegal tobacco is not only harmful to businesses in the city who are trading legally, but creates a cheap source of tobacco for children and young people. It also undermines all of the good work being done to stop people smoking and the illegal tobacco trade more often than not has strong links to other criminal activity. We want Stoke-on-Trent to be a city where residents, workers and visitors should feel safe at all times.

“We encourage residents to report any suspicious activities related to the sale of illicit vapes, tobacco, shisha and anything related, reaffirming our commitment to promoting a safe and lawful business environment for all”.

If any residents or businesses have concerns over the supply or sale of illegal tobacco or vapes they can report to the trading standards team on 0808 223 1133, visit www.adviceguide.org.uk or call the trading standards hotline on 01782 238884.