Police use students to catch illegal vape sales in Southport

20th April 2022

Detectives in Southport have warned shopkeepers who don’t obey the law that they could be caught out.

Police are using student constables posing as underage shoppers to catch out shopkeepers who illegally sell cigarettes and electronic vapes to underage customers.

Student Constable Megan Westerside, currently
stationed with the North Seton neighbourhood Team at Southport Police Station, has been taking part in special operations targeting the illegal sale of vape products to children in Southport.

Nicotine products are not to be sold to under 18’s in similar legislation to alcohol, and incidents show us that in several cases where vapes
are being sold to minors, these incidents are linked with anti-social behaviour in the same areas.

So far at least 10 premises in the Southport and Formby area that are all linked to anti- social behaviour.

A police spokesperson said “Our underage volunteer was served an E-Cigarette in four of those premises and all four of those will be invited in for questioning by trading standards.

More education in regard to vapes will be given, as traders knowledge of the legislation compared to the sale of alcohol needs to improve.

In a related incident, a 15 year old girl from Southport was arrested recently on suspicion of theft of vapes from a shop in Southport and assault of a member of staff after being detained for the theft.

Investigations into the 10 teenagers arrested for the assault of another 15 year old girl are continuing.