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Second court closure for illegal vape seller

Council and democracy

Tuesday, 12 September 2023
Johns News on Linthorpe Road

A Middlesbrough store has been shut down for a second three-month spell over the sale of illegal vaping products.

John’s News was visited by Middlesbrough Council Trading Standards Officers in April following complaints of sales of vapes to young people under 18 and hit with a three-month closure order in June.

Officers found a substantial haul of illicit vapes with a street value of more than £15,000 hidden in crisp boxes, inside a bin, under cardboard and inside a bed frame. 

The Linthorpe Road shop was ordered to close for three months under antisocial behaviour laws, and has now been ordered to remain closed for a further three months.

An application to Teesside Magistrates Court by Middlesbrough Council on Tuesday, September 5 highlighted that the criminal behaviour was likely to continue as the owner would simply be moving back into the shop and there were no changes by the landlord regarding tenancy.   

Judith Hedgley, Middlesbrough Council’s Head of Public Protection, said: “Crime and antisocial behaviour laws give the Council powers to deal decisively with retailers who engage in criminal activities or cause nuisance to the local community.

“A closure order requires a premises that has been found to be used for such activities to close and remain closed for three months.

“As seen in this case, that order can be  extended by a Court for a further three months if there is likely to be a repeat of the same or similar unlawful activities.”

Middlesbrough Mayor Chris Cooke, the Council’s Executive member for Public Protection, said: “E-cigarettes or nicotine-containing vapes can and do help smokers to quit, so swapping from smoking to vaping is a positive health move, but such products must comply with relevant laws.

“Retailers who choose to sell illicit vapes will be subject to robust enforcement and the Council will use its powers to detect and prevent outlets being used in this illegal trade.”

Anyone who has concerns or information about the sale of illicit tobacco products, or the sale of vapes to young people, can contact Trading Standards in confidence on 01642 728223.