Chorley shopkeeper punished for vapes offences

The owner of a Chorley vape shop has been fined and ordered to carry out 150 hours' unpaid community work after admitting selling to kids and stocking illegal products.

Umar Abbas, 26, of Gilnow Road in Bolton, appeared for sentence on 21 May, at Preston Magistrates' Court after pleading guilty to offences committed at Huff Puff & Candies, and later at the renamed Bargain Master, on Chapel Street in Chorley, which is no longer trading.

The court heard how Lancashire trading standards officers sent youngsters into the shop on three occasions between June and September last year to see if they could buy vapes. Each time, sales were made without challenging the children to prove their ages. Vapes contain nicotine and cannot be sold to under 18s.

Two of the sales were followed up by inspections, resulting in seizures of vapes containing more than the 2ml maximum permitted volume of nicotine-containing liquid. Another inspection led to more vapes being found. The court was told that during one test purchase, the child had been given a vape containing 5 times the legal maximum of nicotine-containing liquid.

Sentencing Mr Abbas, District Judge Thompson said he had shown a complete disregard for the law. For the non-compliant vapes offences, Abbas was handed a community order with 150 hours' unpaid work and 10 days' Rehabilitation Activity Requirement. For the three underage sales, fines and costs totalling £2,750 were imposed.

County Councillor Michael Green, cabinet member for Health and Wellbeing at Lancashire County Council, said:

"This business blatantly and repeatedly broke the law while staff took every opportunity to verbally abuse officers carrying out their duties.  We will not stand by where there are shops willing to sell to youngsters and stocking illegal products, and we will always push for the toughest sentences.

"The active ingredient in most vapes is nicotine, which is a highly addictive drug.  This means that a user can become dependent on vapes, especially if they use them regularly.  It is important that we protect children from this potential harm.  Anyone under 18 should not be vaping.

"Lancashire County Council will continue to endeavour to safeguard the health and wellbeing of all residents across our county."

If anyone suspects that a shop may be breaking the law, please report the business anonymously by phoning Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133."

 

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