Illegal vapes and tobacco seized in police and council raids in Sandwell

More than £20,000 worth of illegal vapes and tobacco were seized from two shops in Tipton in a joint operation by Sandwell Council and Sandwell Police.

As part of Sandwell’s Safer 6 campaign and the police’s Operation Advance, officers raided the shops and found some of the offending items concealed in unusual places such as inside an extractor fan, in an oven and behind a specially adapted shelving unit.

Council trading standards and licensing officers joined with police for the raids last week, which show that illegal items will be found, even if people try to hide them. The two premises now face further investigation. Councillor Syeda Khatun, Sandwell Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Communities, said:

“We’ve seen a huge increase in vaping as an alternative to cigarettes over the past few years. Originally aimed at those attempting to give up smoking, the bright colours and sweet flavours are now worryingly attracting younger audiences. So, it is essential store owners remain vigilant when selling these products.

“Illegal vapes, such as those seized during these visits, have an additional public health risk. They often have excessively high levels of nicotine, above the limits set by law and will not have been authorised by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. This makes them highly addictive and potentially harmful to a person’s health.

“This successful operation demonstrates our partnership commitment to protecting residents by cracking down on the sale of illegal products. This work also helps protect law-abiding businesses from the sale of illegal goods which can create an unfair trading environment for the vast majority of businesses that always follow the rules and buy and sell legal products.’’

If you suspect a retailer is selling illegal vapes or tobacco, you should email the council’s trading standards team.


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