Illegal cigarettes and vapes discovered following raids on Heywood stores
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Hundreds of illegal items were seized in an operation between Greater Manchester Police and Rochdale Council’s Trading Standards team on Wednesday morning.
The work targeted illegal paraphernalia and unregulated items within stores in Heywood, including everything from illegal cigarettes to items which promote drug use.
Officers from Heywood’s neighbourhood team and Rochdale Borough Council's Trading Standards' Team visited several businesses within the town centre, including on Bridge Street and Market Street, during a dedicated day of action.
Illegal vapes were seized, with the current limit on vapes being approximately 600 'puffs' (approx 2ml). Some items being sold in the stores advertised the 'puff' limit as being well into the thousands.
The items may not have been through the rigorous checks that is required in legislation in the UK, and therefore may offer an increased risk of harm to the user. It is essential that the correct checks are made to ensure public safety.
Hidden compartments were found in one store, with numerous vaping and cigarette products being found within. It is believed that electricity was being abstracted in some capacity at one of the premises in Market Street, with officers contacting the necessary teams to ensure the meters were stabilised.
Some of those working at the stores were subsequently issued with court summons in response to the finds.
Sergeant Matthew Honey, from Greater Manchester Police’s Rochdale district, said: “We regularly work with our local partners to ensure the best possible outcome for the people of Heywood. In this case, we removed items which are marketed to drug users, and thus can cause huge amounts of harm within our communities. We have also managed to take illegal cigarettes and vapes out of circulation.
“It is incredibly important to perform these checks on stores - unregulated products can put people's health at risk and it is important we investigate reports of illegal products in stores.
“If you have any concerns about drugs or illegal products in your area, please do get in touch with your local officers. We are determined to clamp down on this sort of criminality, and will act accordingly with the information and intelligence that comes into us.”
Councillor Liam O'Rourke, cabinet member at Rochdale Borough Council, said: “Working with the police we have taken a wide range of illegal and potentially harmful products off our streets.
"Further investigations will now take place and could result in formal action, including prosecution, closure orders and referrals to His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.”
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