Traders in illegal vapes and tobacco see their profits go up in smoke

Oldham Council’s Trading Standards department has seized almost £100,000 worth of illegal vapes and illicit tobacco in just five months.

By doing so we’ve not only disrupted traders who sell goods that are unlawful and potentially unsafe, but also protected the health of Oldhamers – including many young people.

Between June and October 2023 our officers, together with Greater Manchester Police, have been working tirelessly to crack down on the sale of non-compliant disposable vapes and illicit tobacco.

In total we have seized around 6,500 vapes, 19,000 cigarettes and 9.55kg of hand rolling tobacco, all of which were illegal.

This amounts to around £94,000 worth of illegal products taken off the streets.

Our teams are never surprised at the lengths some sellers will go to in a bid to protect their illegal stashes.

On one operation, a specially trained dog sniffed out a haul of illegal tobacco in the boot of a car linked to a shop involved in the trade.

When the owner wasn’t forthcoming with the keys entry into the vehicle was forced – leaving the owner even more out of pocket – and the cigarettes were recovered.

All the products we’ve seized over the last few months will be destroyed and the traders face the possibility of further action.

Councillor Elaine Taylor, Cabinet Member for Housing and Licensing said: “Together with our partners, we continue to take action against traders who sell goods that are unlawful and potentially unsafe. 

“Smoking and the harm it does, plus the trade in illegal tobacco has sadly been around for years. But over the last few years we’ve seen more and more illegal vapes on our streets.

“Not only do they contain illegal amount of nicotine but they are also being targeted at young people, and that’s not on.

“It’s also against the law to sell a vape to anyone under 18.

“We’ll continue to carry on raids and seizures across the borough and if you can help us, please get in touch.”

You can report illegal products on sale via the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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