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Home News Hartlepool c-store licence under review over allegations of selling vapes to underaged

Hartlepool c-store licence under review over allegations of selling vapes to underaged

January 21, 2022

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A Hartlepool convenience store is to have its licence reviewed amid allegations that school children have allegedly bought vapes illegally, stated reports last week.

According to local reports, trading standards officers visited Charlie’s Convenience Store, in Hartlepool’s Duke Street, after reports from “concerned parents and schools” that disposable Geek Bar vapes were being sold to children.

While bosses at Charlie’s said they operate a strict Challenge 25 policy and have never sold to under 18s and will defend themselves during the review, council officers claim that they saw “numerous groups of children coming into the shop and asking to purchase Geek Bars” during the November visit.

The council also states that an 18-year-old council apprentice test purchased a Geek Bar Pro, which cannot legally be sold in the UK to people of any age, during the visit without “without any checks” on age.

Submitted by Rachael Readman, senior trading standards officer, the report said, “ I believe the current trading practices at Charlie’s are contradicting the licensing objectives of protection of children from harm and the prevention of crime and disorder.

“Trading standards have received reports from the general public, concerned parents and schools regarding Charlie’s selling disposable vape bars, known as Geek Bars, to children.

“Geek bars are nicotine delivery devices, similar to vapes, and are age restricted products – meaning they cannot be sold to anyone under the age of 18.”

Meanwhile, Abdul Rizwan, the manager at Charlie’s, told Hartlepool Mail that any Geek Bars young people have got from his store would have been bought for them by adults without the shop’s knowledge.

“We’ve been in the community for a long time, I assured the council we are there to help you,” he said.

“We’ve never sold to under 18s. I train my staff Challenge 25, anyone we see that doesn’t look 25, we ask for the proper ID,” Rizwan said, stressing that the shop “were not selling” Geek Bar Pros.

The matter is now likely to be debated at a future council licensing committee meeting. Sanctions could include the shop’s ability to sell other “age restricted” products such as alcohol.