Shops shut down after more than £10,000 of illegal vapes seized

Two Liverpool shops have been shut down after more than £10,000 worth of illegal vapes and cigarettes were seized in a targeted operation.

Liverpool Council’s alcohol and tobacco unit, working alongside Merseyside Police, have seized thousands of pounds worth of illicit vape products and counterfeit cigarettes as part of a national operation. Items totalling £11,000 were taken from a shop on Walton Vale last week.

A further two stores in Old Swan and Tuebrook have now also been shut down owing to the sale of prohibited goods.

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The closure of the two stores and significant seizures are part of the local authority’s ongoing work to crack down on the illicit trades. Earlier this month, seizures were made from four locations worth more than £9,000 including fake tech and illicit cigarettes.

Among the haul were a large quantity of fake earphones and game console devices. Knives, a hammer and a crossbow bolt were also recovered as part of a crackdown on organised crime in north Liverpool.

A Lark Lane newsagents was also shut down for a period of three months after illegal cigarettes and vapes were sold to “vulnerable” children. The local authority secured a closure order for Britannia Stores in the south Liverpool hotspot after a “six year stretch of recurring failures” including the sale of vapes and cigarettes to children as young as 13.

In the latest move, called Operation Delilah, a multi-partner operation was launched as part of a wider national campaign. Such schemes have led to the closure of two further shops, Happy Convenience Store in Old Swan and Daily Mini Market in Tuebrook, alongside the disposure of the seized products.

The vapes are recycled by a Manchester based contractor that has been authorised by Trading Standards North West to safely dispose of the items.

Prof Matt Ashton, director of public health at Liverpool Council, said: “The work we are doing on illicit vapes sends a clear message to other retailers in our city who are trading in illegal products. While genuine vaping products continue to provide a viable alternative for those who want to quit smoking, the guidance remains that these should always be sourced from reputable retailers and if you don’t smoke already, don’t start vaping.”

To date, illegal vapes totalling more than £200,000 have been accounted for this year. In April, more than 3,500 illicit devices were recovered from a location on London Road by its public protection team, totalling £40,000.

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