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Lincolnshire Trading Standards and police collaboration on illegal goods leads to closure orders for seven Lincoln shops





Authorities have closed seven shops in a crackdown on illegal vapes.

Lincolnshire Trading Standards and Lincolnshire Police have taken decisive action against illegal activity in Lincoln's city centre, resulting in the closure of seven shops accused of selling counterfeit and banned goods.

The closures were sanctioned by Lincoln Magistrates Court under the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014 last week.

Investigators examine items seized from closed shops in Lincoln's city centre. Photo: Lincolnshire County Council
Investigators examine items seized from closed shops in Lincoln's city centre. Photo: Lincolnshire County Council

Over a six-month period, undercover operations and collaborative efforts between Trading Standards and the local Neighbourhood Policing Team gathered evidence against the shops.

They were:

- Mr Chippy, 137 High Street

Trading Standards and Police collaborate to ensure public safety in Lincoln. Photo: Lincolnshire County Council
Trading Standards and Police collaborate to ensure public safety in Lincoln. Photo: Lincolnshire County Council

- High Street Vapes, 390 High Street

- Top Mini Market, 380 High Street

- Universal Vape, 373 High Street

Authorities inspect seized goods during a crackdown on illegal products in Lincoln. Photo: Lincolnshire County Council
Authorities inspect seized goods during a crackdown on illegal products in Lincoln. Photo: Lincolnshire County Council

- Vape Center, 374 High Street

- Portland Vapes, 11 Portland Street

- Kikush, 371 High Street

Inspectors review confiscated goods amidst efforts to combat organised crime. Photo: Lincolnshire County Council
Inspectors review confiscated goods amidst efforts to combat organised crime. Photo: Lincolnshire County Council

The operations revealed not only the sale of illegal cigarettes and vapes but also potential links to broader criminal activities, including organised crime groups operating outside the county.

Principal Lincolnshire Trading Standards officer, Andy Wright, highlighted the severity of the issue, stating: “It is no coincidence that we find shops selling illegal cigarettes and vapes in areas where there is a public perception of high crime and where residents feel particularly vulnerable.

“This isn’t a situation that is unique to Lincoln, the same can be said of virtually every other town in Lincolnshire.

Detailed examination of seized items reveals broader criminal implications. Photo: Lincolnshire County Council
Detailed examination of seized items reveals broader criminal implications. Photo: Lincolnshire County Council

“These are not shops that sell a few cigarettes or vapes ‘on the side’. Instead, they exist solely to supply illegal goods. The shops are operated by criminals and out of county organised crime groups.”

The closures, enforced with large signs barring entry except for essential purposes, underscore the gravity of the situation and the determination of local authorities to safeguard public health and welfare.

Sergeant Simon Garside, from the Neighbourhood Policing Team, emphasised the broader implications, “Shops that sell illegal and illicit products pose a significant threat – but I understand that it might not be quite clear to the broader public what that is when it might seem like ‘just a few vapes’.

“In fact, we know that there is often a bigger picture behind the scene. Every case is different, but the issues we are concerned with is the broader criminality linked to organised crime groups operating from a distance.

"The associated crime and issues might include human trafficking, money laundering and tax offenses, hindering prosperity of legitimate local business; as well as the significant health and safety implications linked to these illegal tobacco and vape products.

“For Lincolnshire Police and our partner agencies, this is a really important and serious issue to tackle. This is not only a public health issue, this is a larger, more complex criminal issue that we are tackling head on."

The collaborative efforts aim not only to eliminate the immediate threat posed by these shops but also to prevent their resurgence through legal measures and community vigilance.

The closure orders, each effective for three months, prohibit any trading from the premises and empower authorities to prosecute anyone found violating these terms.

Further extensions may be sought to ensure sustained protection for local residents and businesses against criminal elements exploiting vulnerable areas.

Residents are encouraged to report any suspicions or information regarding illegal activities anonymously to Crimestoppers.



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