Birkenhead shopkeeper fined for underage vape sales

A retailer in Birkenhead town centre will have to pay out more than £2,700 after being found guilty of illegally selling a vape to a 15-year-old.

The proprietor of Grange News in St Werburgh’s Square, Mr Al-Mardai, did not attend the hearing at Wirral Magistrates Court on Thursday, 16 May, but the case was heard in his absence and Magistrates accepted that the prosecutors, working on behalf of Wirral Trading Standards, proved the facts of the case.

The prosecution was brought after a 15-year-old volunteer went into the shop last August as part of a test purchasing operation and was able to buy a vape without being challenged to prove their age at the time of the sale.

Grange News had previously received a compliance visit by Trading Standards officers, a warning letter and a caution for selling age-restricted products to children. They had also signed an undertaking for supplying illicit vapes.

At Wirral Magistrates Court, Mr Al-Mardai was fined £500 and ordered to pay costs of £2,068 and a victim surcharge of £200.

Trading Standards’ ability to tackle traders who don’t comply with laws covering the sale of age-restricted products, such as cigarettes and vapes, has been further boosted recently with the recruitment of a dedicated officer – funded through the public health team – focussing on tobacco and other illicit sales-related offences.

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