Under-age sale of illegal vape lands Eastcote business with hefty fine

Wednesday 11 October, 2023: The directors of an Eastcote newsagents have been ordered to pay more than £8,000 after selling a vape to a 15-year-old and for supplying illegal, oversized vapes.

An illegal Blue Razz vape that has an oversized tank
Narinder and Kartar Lamba, the directors of Eastcote Newsbox Ltd each admitted the two offences when they appeared at Uxbridge Magistrates' Court together on Tuesday 3 October, following a prosecution brought by Hillingdon Council's trading standards team.

The court was told the trading standards team was conducting under-age test sales using a 15-year-old child on 13 February 2023 and the youth was sold a 1,500 puff 'Blue Razz' disposable vape, which contained nicotine, by Narinder Singh who was serving at the store, on Field End Road.

The legal limit for disposable e-vapes is 2ml of liquid, or around 600 puffs, so the item sold was more than double the limit.

The court heard Kartar Lamba was not in the shop at the time of the sale, however was culpable by way of being responsible for supplying the shop's stock. Kartar Lamba told the council's officers that the item had been supplied by a salesman who cold-called at the store.

Both directors told the trading standards officers they were aware the 1,500 puff vape was illegal to sell and hadn't intended to sell it, the court heard. The council's case was that this was not true.

The court was also told that of 10 test sales that day, only two were successful, suggesting 80 per cent of those businesses felt the shopper was visibly under-age.

For the sale of an illegal vape, and selling restricted goods to a minor, Narinder Lamba was fined £800, ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £320 and the council's costs of £550.

Kartar Lamba and the company also faced a single charge of selling a vape with liquid exceeding the legal limit.

For this charge, Kartar Lamba was fined £800, ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £320 and the council's costs of £550.

Eastcote Newsbox Ltd was fined £3,000, ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £1,200 and a contribution to the council's costs of £550.

Cllr Eddie Lavery, Hillingdon Council's Cabinet Member for Residents' Services, said: "We're committed to keeping Hillingdon a safe borough where communities can thrive.

"The scourge of illegal vapes is nationwide and this prosecution highlights the ease in which both oversized products can be bought and how they can also be sold to children, without the correct checks.

"This is a sizable financial burden for this local business which I am positive will highlight how seriously we take this issue and the severe consequences of exploiting young people and illegal products for profit."

If you suspect a business is selling restricted products to under-age shoppers, or selling illegal vapes, you can report it by emailing tradingstandards@hillingdon.gov.uk or anonymously using the London Trading Standards website.

Page last updated: 15 Feb 2024