Skipton shop and its director fined for selling illegal vapes

York Magistrates Court

An off-licence in Skipton and its company director have today been ordered to pay £6,725 for possessing to supply 160 illegal vapes.

Shahram Sharifi, director of Lewiatan Limited which operates in Sackville Street, Skipton, pleaded guilty at York Magistrates’ Court.

The company and Sharifi were prosecuted under the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 after our trading standards officers found the vapes, with a retail value of £1,600, on display during an inspection of the shop.

Sharifi was ordered to pay £3,275 while Lewiatan Limited will have to pay £3,450, including fines, surcharges and court costs.

The labelling indicated that they each contained 3,500 ‘puffs’ of nicotine-containing liquid. When tested by the Public Analyst, the devices were found to contain 6.6millilitres of the nicotine-containing liquid when the legal limit is 2millilitres.

The court heard that similar products had been seized from Sharifi at the shop in May 2022 and he had been issued with a warning and advice. Despite this, the business continued to sell the devices with Sharifi claiming that he bought them from a supplier in Leeds who he could not identify.

On 5 August, 2022, Lewiatan Ltd was convicted of 10 offences of possessing counterfeit cigarettes for supply and five offences relating to displaying for sale overproof vodka which had no traceability information. On that occasion, the company was ordered to pay a fine, costs and a court surcharge totalling £5,950.

Corporate director for environment, Karl Battersby said: “We are determined to crackdown on offences like this so we are delighted with the outcome of this case.

“The regulations set strict limits for the amount of liquid in these devices in order to limit the risks associated with nicotine, which is a toxic substance harmful to health.

“These devices contained more than three times that limit. Information about the manufacturer in the UK and the batch code was also missing, so there is no traceability which would allow all vapes of this type to be located and removed from the supply chain.

“Consumers should expect safe, legal products to be sold in their local shops and in this case the trader has let them down.”

Any member of the public who would like to report a retailer who sells illegal vapes or sells vapes to under-18s can do so via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133.