A recent multi-agency investigation in Manchester has uncovered a large number of illegal vaping products. The operation was carried out by Greater Manchester Police and Manchester City Council Trading Standards as part of an ongoing initiative to tackle criminal activity in the area.
During the operation, around 18,200 non-compliant vaping products were seized, highlighting the scale of the illegal trade in counterfeit goods in the Cheetham Hill and Strangeways areas. These areas are well known for being hotspots for fake designer goods, and it is estimated that the trade in counterfeit goods is worth £8.6bn per year.
In addition to the illegal vaping products, evidence was also found of staff being exploited due to their immigration status. This highlights the need for greater vigilance in ensuring that businesses are complying with regulations, and that employees are not being exploited in the process.
The seizure of the illegal vaping products is a positive step in the fight against criminal activity in the area. Greater Manchester Police Detective Inspector Christian Julian stated that "This seizure is a great result for Operation Vulcan and our partners as it means thousands of potentially harmful products have been taken off the streets of Greater Manchester."
Councillor Lee-Ann Igbon, Executive Member for Vibrant Neighbourhoods for Manchester City Council, added that "It’s important to say that most products on the market meet UK regulations. However, with non-compliant products there is a risk that none of the usual safety checks and procedures have been followed. We would encourage residents to report any concerns or suspected sales of non-compliant vapes to help protect the community.”
The seizure of these illegal products is a reminder of the importance of complying with regulations and ensuring that products are safe for consumers. It is also a reminder of the need for vigilance in tackling criminal activity, and the important role that multi-agency initiatives can play in this regard.