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Illegal vapes worth £30k seized in multi-agency crackdown

Illegal vapes with a street value of nearly £30,000 were seized during a multi-agency operation to tackle the illegal sale of age-restricted products.

Tameside Council trading standards, environmental health and licensing officers joined Greater Manchester Police visiting shops in the borough on Tuesday, May 14 as part of Operation Spectre, a national initiative against knife crime.

The operation was an opportunity for council officers to follow up on intelligence in relation to suspected illegal activity while also providing advice to all businesses regarding their responsibilities as sellers of age-restricted products including knives, alcohol, tobacco and e-cigarettes.

During the visits, officers seized 2,296 illegal vapes with a street value of £27,552, and illicit tobacco with a value of £159 from three shops. The shops cannot currently be named for legal reasons but appropriate enforcement action will be taken. 

Poor electrics were also identified in one business resulting in notices being served for urgent repair.

All other businesses visited were found to be compliant and were advised and reminded of their duties of responsible selling and licence conditions. No issues were identified in relation to knives.

Tameside Council Executive Member for Environmental Services Cllr Denise Ward said: “Trade in illicit tobacco and e-cigarettes supports crime rings, damages legitimate businesses, undermines public health and facilitates the supply of tobacco to young people.

"Public protection is a priority for us and I’m pleased to see this successful joint work with the police to help keep our local communities safe as well as to support responsible, local businesses that comply with the law."

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