Preston shopkeeper faces prison if payment not made for selling over-sized vapes

Posted on - 18th June, 2024 - 10:16am | Author - | Posted in - Crime, Preston City Centre, Preston News
EN Newsagents
EN Newsagents

A Preston city centre shopkeeper who constantly flouted the rules on vapes has been ordered to do community service and pay back more than £20,000 in ill-gotten gains.

The director of EN Newsagents – run by Euro News Limited – in Orchard Street – appeared in court after action taken by Lancashire County Council’s Trading Standards team.

Arif Patel, 43, of Sunnyside Road, Bolton, was found to be selling over-sized vapes.

Read more: Eleven Preston and South Ribble shops tested in illegal vape sales crackdown

Officers caught him selling an over-sized Blueberry Pro Max vape in a sting operation in September last year and following an inspection found another 951 similar vapes in a locked cabinet in a storeroom at the back of the shop.

This followed a raid in February last year where 1,290 oversized vapes were seized from the shop.

Vapes seized from EN News in February last year Pic: Lancashire County Council

Trading Standards say Patel and his company were selling disposable e-cigarettes with more than the maximum amount of 2ml of nicotine-containing liquid as prescribed by law.

Patel appeared at Preston Crown Court and was sentenced by Recorder Siddiqi who imposed a 12-month community order with 8 days unpaid work and 10 days rehabilitation activity requirement.

Patel was also ordered to pay court costs of £1,912 and the 2,241 seized vapes are to be destroyed.

In addition to the criminal offences, Recorder Siddiqi made an order under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 requiring payment of an amount equivalent to the value of the 2241 seized vapes, £22,751.59. Patel was warned that, unless he pays the order off within three months, he will go to prison for 18 months.

The conviction for supplying over-sized vapes comes after a separate conviction in April this year for selling a vape to a 15-year-old test purchaser in school uniform in the shop.

Lancashire County Council’s Trading Standards’ principal officer Nick McNamara said: “This is the second time in as many months that we’ve been in court with this shop.

“It highlights our determination to crack down on vape sellers who flout the law.”

Anyone who has concerns about the sale of any age-restricted products can report these to Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Service helpline on 08082231133.

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