Two shop owners have been prosecuted for selling vapes to children, following a covert operation carried out by Liverpool City Council.
In February 2023, the Alcohol and Tobacco Unit received several complaints suggesting Easy Store, 51-55 Dale Street, was selling nicotine inhaling products to those aged under 18.
A visit was carried out to make them aware of the complaints, and a Council officer observed a number of young-looking customers coming in and out attempting to purchase vapes.
Following this, the Council carried out a test purchase with an underage volunteer, who was sold a vape without asking for their age or ID. In May, the Council and Merseyside Police seized illegal vapes found on display in the premises. In June, a staff member sold an illegal vape a to 15-year-old volunteer.
Easy Store owner Mohamad Abbar, of Chaucer Street in L20, pleaded guilty at Liverpool Magistrates Court on Thursday 2 November to four charges relating to underage sales at the city centre shop in February and June, and for selling/offering illegal vapes in May and June.
Abbar has been ordered to pay a total of £3,157, made up of fines of £850 in relation to the underage sales, £500 for the illicit vapes, Council costs of £1,267 and a surcharge of £540.
Also prosecuted was Amjad Nazir, of Colebrooke Road in L17, for selling vapes to underage volunteers from Unit 76 at St John’s Market in February and June. He failed to attend court and faces a total bill of £1,702, comprising a fine of £660, Council costs of £778 and a £264 surcharge.
Since April 2022, Liverpool City Council has seized over 36,000 illegal vapes with a street value of £432,000, and further prosecutions for underage sales are pending.
Councillor Harry Doyle, Cabinet Member for Public Health, said: “Our Alcohol and Tobacco Unit are working closely with Merseyside Police and our Public Health colleagues to crackdown on shops supplying vapes to children, as well as illegal vaping products.
“This is just one of a number of prosecutions that we are bringing to court, in addition to hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of illegal vapes we have seized.
“We would urge anyone who knows of a store that is selling these type of products to contact us so that we can investigate.”