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Thousands of illegal cigarettes, oversized vapes and tobacco have been seized after police raided several shops throughout Darlington. 2-In-1 Cbd Battery
The council’s trading standards team and police visited seven shops across the town, accompanied by detection dogs to sniff out hidden cash, tobacco, and cigarettes in six of the premises.
The visits, which took place between November 30 and December 5, were part of Operation Cece, a National Trading Standards initiative.
Illegal vapes were found at Food Plus and S B Mini Market on North Road. All of the vapes seized contained oversized tanks, with the most common type being 3,500 puff bars, which would be the equivalent of smoking approximately 280 cigarettes.
Illegal vapes and suspected illegal cigarettes were discovered at the Corner Shop on High Northgate, Neasham Road Mini Market, Parkgate Mini Market, and Yarm Road Mini Market.
• Retailers selling vapes from brands that have not been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.
• Vapes carrying over the legal 2ml tank size. A vape pen should provide no more than 600-800 puffs.
• Carrying illegal ingredients. The highest nicotine strength for vapes is 2 per cent. The nicotine liquid should not contain any additives or ingredients such as caffeine or taurine.
• Carrying the wrong health warning. All vape products containing nicotine should have the following health warning 'This product contains nicotine which is a highly addictive substance' covering 30 per cent of the front and back of the packet.
Shaun Trevor and Cllr Mike Renton with cash and tobacco detection dogs Maggie and Cooper and goods seized during Operation Cece (Image: Darlington Council)
Trading standards officers also accompanied police on Operation Autumn on December 1, when they visited three premises during the evening, and outside normal office working hours, and seized illegal goods in two of them. Illegal vapes and/or suspected illegal cigarettes were seized from Babylon on Gladstone Street and the Easy Shop on Victoria Road.
Following up on intelligence received, trading standards and police officers also visited the Dima Mini Market on North Road on December 5 and seized illegal, over-strength vapes, suspected illegal cigarettes and hand-rolling tobacco.
In total, 489 illegal vapes, 19,580 cigarettes and 7.65 kilograms of hand rolling tobacco were seized, further disrupting the illicit trade in the town. Investigations in relation to the seizures are ongoing.
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Councillor Mike Renton, Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet member for stronger communities, said: “Darlington trading standards team will continue to work closely with other agencies to tackle the sale and supply of illegal vapes and tobacco products in the town particularly to children.
“Those that engage in illegal sales hurt other businesses in the town that do follow the rules and we are working hard to ensure this does not happen.
“We will continue our efforts to monitor and visit stores which sell illegal products, and don’t comply with age restrictions, and will use all available measures including prosecuting those responsible. You can help by reporting anything of concern to trading standards, anonymously if you wish.”
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