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“We will hit you where it hurts,” police warn criminals selling illegal vapes following raids in Spalding, Holbeach and Boston

Criminals selling illegal tobacco and vapes will be ‘hit where it hurts’ - a top cop has warned.

South Holland police inspector Matt Dickinson has made his message clear to businesses in the district, making it clear ‘we will deal with you’.

Nine shops across Spalding, Holbeach and Boston were forced to close earlier this month following a joint investigation by Lincolnshire Trading Standards and the county’s police force.

Insp Matt Dickinson
Insp Matt Dickinson

"My message to those who want to operate these illegal shops and take advantage of the local community by selling cheap but dangerous counterfeit products is we will deal with you,” Insp Dickinson said.

"And while legislation can be limited, we will deal with you robustly.

“We will use every piece of legislation that's available to prosecute you and hit you where it hurts.

Illegal vapes seized by police and trading standards
Illegal vapes seized by police and trading standards

“We will hit your pockets; we will close your shops and we will look to prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.”

The nine shops slapped with three-month closure notices by magistrates were Nasza Biedronka and Easy Shop in Spalding, Boston’s The Fruit Shop, Biedronka, Mini Market, Kubus, Europa and Balkans Mini Market, plus Holbeach Market.

One of the closures in Boston resulted in police having a foot chase after a male fled from the rear of a premises.

Holbeach Market has been shut
Holbeach Market has been shut

He was detained following assistance from the town CCTV system.

Principal Trading Standards officer Andy Wright said: “The shop closures in Boston come after three similar closures in Spalding earlier this week.

“The closures were granted on the basis of criminal activity taking place on the premises.

Nasza Biendronka in Spalding's Sheep Market
Nasza Biendronka in Spalding's Sheep Market

“We’ve been working closely on this with Police, Community Cohesion, and Immigration Officers both in Boston and Spalding.

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“The closures are as a direct response to concerns expressed by members of the public through the Police Streetsafe initiative.

“Streetsafe allows members of the public to anonymously report areas in which they feel unsafe or vulnerable. I don’t think it is a coincidence that many of the illegal businesses forcibly closed are to be found within those areas.”

“It is our intention to ensure that future investment in these towns is made on the foundations of a law-abiding business community. We fully intend to step up actions over the next year.”

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