Express & Star

Owner of Walsall vape shop fined more than £2,000 for selling vape to minor

The owner of a vape shop in Walsall town centre has been fined more than £2,000 after being caught selling to underage customers.

Two complaints of selling to a minor were reported before an underage sales test purchase exercise took place

King’s Vapes and Smoking Shop, situated in Victorian Arcade, was first visited by trading standards on October 13, 2021, during which 516 illegal vapes were seized.

A trader notice was also given to Mr Singh, of Dunsford Road, Smethwick, advising him that trading standards undertake coordinated test purchase exercises with underage volunteers.

A further visit took place on January 13, 2022, during which time Gurmeet Singh, the sole director of the trading company, was advised about underage sales and was left leaflets and posters.

In January 2022, two separate complaints reported the store for selling disposable vapes to minors.

Following this, the shop was placed on the list for an underage sales test purchase exercise which took place on February 23, 2022.

During the exercise, a 15-year-old volunteer entered King’s Vapes and Smoking Shop and a sale was made of a GEEK Bar, Guava Ice, disposable vape (containing nicotine).

The case was heard at Dudley Magistrates Court on October 19, 2022, when Mr Singh, as the seller, was handed a fine of £205, victim surcharge of £34 and costs of £416.

Thakur Enterpreses Ltd, Mr Singh’s trading company, was fined of £833, Victim Surcharge of £83 and costs of £700.

Councillor Garry Perry, Deputy Leader for Resilient Communities, said: "These disposable vapes are intentionally appealing to children due to their flavours and bright colours and contain as much nicotine as at least 40 cigarettes.

"They are, therefore, highly addictive and can lead to young people developing a dangerous smoking habit.

"The vape purchased cost just £6.00 — was the profit margin really worth breaking the law?

"Hopefully the £2,251 in total handed down by the court in fines, Victim Surcharges and costs will make this trader, and others, take their responsibilities more seriously.

"My thanks go to our Trading Standards officers who, along with others in the wider Regulatory Services team, quietly do so much to keep us all safe."