Five arrests made and £11,000 of illegal vapes seized in Stockport

Stockport Council Trading Standards officers seized £11,000 of illegal single use vapes during a joint operation with police in a high visibility day in the town centre and Edgeley

Five arrests made and £11,000 of illegal vapes seized in Stockport

Council officers visited a number of premises in the town centre and seized the vapes from four, which were illegal for a number of reasons including the display of incorrect health warnings and tanks exceeding the 2ml maximum volume permitted.

Stockport Trading Standards officer teamed up with 40 Greater Manchester Police officers to continue the fight against crime in the latest day of action in the town centre and Edgeley on 29 November. It was part of Operation Rimini, GMP’s dedicated operation to tackle retail crime and Anti-Social Behaviour, and Operation Acquire, a forcewide initiative that targets people suspected of committing neighbourhood offences. The day of action was in response to concerns from the local community.

Councillor Frankie Singleton, Cabinet Member for Communities, Culture & Sport at Stockport Council, said: "Reducing the availability of illicit products and, reducing the risk of children accessing age restricted products are priority areas for Trading Standards. Illicit vape liquid can contain undeclared contaminants and we will continue to work with our Stockport police colleagues to prevent immediate and longer-term harm to our children and communities."

Also, as part of the day of action five people were arrested on suspicion of several offences on the day, including possession of an offensive weapon, recall to prison, attempting to sell counterfeit goods and a previous assault on a police officer. In addition, a car suspected of being involved in criminal activity was seized.

So far this year, as part of the days of action, there have been 36 arrests and 103 charges issued.

Sergeant James Senior, of the Stockport Central Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: "When I meet with partners and shopkeepers, the main feedback is they want to see more police on the streets.

"In response to that, our staff numbers have increased, and we are far more visible now, and that’s what these days of action are all about.

"I’d always rather speak to someone in the street the be driving past them at 30mph - these are our communities, the people who need us, telling us what the problems are.

"People who commit crime, anti-social behaviour, simply won’t be tolerated."

The day of action was run by the Stockport Central Neighbourhood Policing Team, The Special Constabulary, Stockport's Neighbourhood Crime Team, Divisional Tutor Unit, British Transport Police and GMP mounted unit.

Partners from Stockport Council’s Rough Sleepers Team, Trading Standards, Merseyway Security, Ocean Security and the Wellspring homeless charity were also involved.

Recent research commissioned by Trading Standards North West has shown that the percentage of children smoking tobacco cigarettes in Stockport has halved since 2017. During the same time however, vaping amongst young people has more than trebled. In the research, 70% of teenagers that claim to vape said they have used disposable (single use) vapes. Over a third said they vaped because they like the flavours, it’s cheaper than smoking and they are easier to obtain than tobacco cigarettes.

The government has also recently launched a consultation on single use, disposable vapes asking for views on three areas:

  • Creating a smokefree generation: the consultation gathers views on the smokefree generation policy and its scope to inform future legislation.
  • Tackling youth vaping: the consultation gathers views on several options to ensure we take the most appropriate action to tackle youth vaping. The proposals in the consultation include restricting vape flavours, regulating point of sale displays of vapes, regulating packaging and presentation of vapes, and considering restricting the sale of disposable vapes. In addition, the consultation gathers views on the implementation of a new duty on vapes.
  • Enforcement: the consultation asks about introducing new powers for local authorities to issue on-the-spot fines (Fixed Penalty Notices) to enforce age of sale legislation of tobacco products and vapes.

If you require help and support to kick the habit, you can find further information on the Stop Smoking pages on the Healthy Stockport website.