Illegal single-use vapes worth £11,000 have been seized in Stockport and five arrests made as part of a joint operation by the council’s Trading Standards officers and Greater Manchester Police (GMP).
The vapes were found at four premises in the town centre and Edgeley on November 29 and were illegal for a number of reasons including the display of incorrect health warnings and tanks exceeding the 2ml maximum volume permitted.
Up to 40 GMP officers joined Trading Standards officers which was part of Operation Rimini to tackle anti-social behaviour, and Operation Acquire to target those suspected of committing neighbourhood offences. The day of action came about after concerns were raised by residents.
The arrests were made on suspicion of a range of offences 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.
In total, 36 arrests have been made this year as part of days of action and 103 charges issued.
Councillor Frankie Singleton, cabinet member for communities, culture and 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.”
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.
“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.