Leamington shop owner given 200 hours community service for selling illegal vapes

Warwickshire Vape Ltd trading as Royal Vapes - which also has premises in Kenilworth, Warwick and Nuneaton - and its owner Luke Benjamin Spencer, have been successfully prosecuted by Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards Service.
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A Leamington, Warwick and Kenilworth shop owner must carry out 200 hours of community service after he and his company were prosecuted for selling illegal vapes.

Trading Standards Officers seized hundreds of illegal disposable nicotine vapes from Warwickshire Vape Ltd trading as Royal Vapes, which is owned by Luke Benjamin Spencer and also has a fourth premises in Nuneaton.

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The business had been warned to remove the products from sale but had failed to do so.

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Vapes seized included Elux Legend 3500 Blueberry Raspberry and R&M Tornado 7000 Skittles.

The offences related to the sale of disposable vapes that contained more nicotine containing liquid than the legal 2ml limit and vapes that used images and wording associated with trade marked sweet products, specifically Skittles and Ribena.

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Mr Hunt, representing Mr Spencer told magistrates at Coventry Magistrates Court that his client’s offending had not been deliberate.

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However, the court also heard that Mr Spencer had been in business selling vapes for ten years and had a staff of 18 employees and found it surprising that Mr Spencer said he was naïve.

Spencer, 41, of Haddon Road, Leamington, pleaded guilty to seven offences relating to the sale of the illegal vapes.

He was ordered to complete 200 hours unpaid work under a 12-month community order and pay £4,592 prosecution costs and a £114 victim surcharge.

Magistrates considered there to be high culpability, and high level of harm in respect of the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 offences and aggravating factors of financial gain, risk to others and failure to comply with advice from Trading Standards.

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Warwickshire Vape Limited also pleaded guilty to seven offences and was fined £910 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £4,590 and a £91 victim surcharge.

Warwickshire County Councillor Andy Crump, portfolio Holder for Community Safety said: “Illegal vapes, which can contain dangerous levels of nicotine, a highly addictive drug, should not be on sale in Warwickshire. Nicotine poisoning can cause a range of problems including nausea, vomiting, pain in the stomach or gut, or diarrhoea.”

“Trading Standards Officers tried to work with this business to remove these illegal products from sale, but in vain, leaving them with no option but to take court action to protect the health of consumers.”

In Mitigation, Mr Hunt said his client was previously of good character and had made an early guilty plea.

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Further, there were now active measures in place in the business to ensure that only compliant products are sold, including a compliance policy and compliance manager who review all products for sale.

Magistrates also granted a deprivation order for the forfeiture and destruction of over 500 illegal nicotine inhaling vapes seized from the business.