More than £16,000 worth of illegal disposable vaping bars and £3,420 worth (legitimate value) of illicit tobacco products have been seized between two premises in North East Lincolnshire last week, while a further £9096 of illegal vapes was seized from a store in Rotherham.

Hundreds of businesses were written to by North East Lincolnshire Council’s Trading Standards in August, advising them of the law and their responsibilities, and warning of the dangers of selling illegal disposable vape bars.

Following this and based on reports from the public, two businesses in Grimsby and Cleethorpes were visited last week by North East Lincolnshire Council’s Trading Standards team. Humberside Police Community Team assisted during the Cleethorpes visit.

Both businesses were found to be selling disposable vapes that not only breached the law on tank size (10ml and 14ml, when the legal limit is 2ml), but some devices were found to contain nicotine strengths more than double the legal limit of two per cent strength.

The retailers will be invited for formal interviews under caution and files will be prepared for consideration of prosecution.

Councillor Ron Shepherd, portfolio holder for safer and stronger communities at North East Lincolnshire Council, said: “Trading Standards will always act on information such as that received and thank the public for their efforts to help eradicate these illegal vapes which seem to be very sought after by children due to the bright colours and multiple choices of flavours.

“We need to ensure that we have strict regulations and controls over vaping products to protect the health of future generations.”

PC Michael Goodwin, of the Grimsby East Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “This is not just a case of taking cheap tobacco off the streets. We do it to protect people and our communities. Operations such as these have been known to fund organised crime groups, with connections to modern-day slavery and human trafficking.

“I hope that this latest seizure of counterfeit and illicit tobacco products shows that we will take every avenue to disrupt those who are involved in this time of criminality.”

Illegal vapes_South Yorkshire police

Meanwhile, illegal vapes worth over £9,000 were seized from a store in Thurcroft, Rotherham, last week, as part of Operation Duxford. South Yorkshire Police Officers have been supporting Rotherham Trading Standards and have seized 758 vapes, with a market value of £9096.