20th March 2023

Illicit vapes seized in Operation Vulcan

An investigation of a business in the ‘UK capital for counterfeits’ has resulted in the seizure of thousands of illegal vapes.

By JTS Staff
Journal of Trading Standards' in-house team

A multi-agency investigation between Greater Manchester Police and Manchester City Council Trading Standards has uncovered thousands of illegal vapes at a shop in Cheetham Hill.

Evidence bags containing some of the illicit vapes seized (image credit: Greater Manchester Police)

During the visit on 9 March as part of Operation Vulcan, around 18,200 non-compliant vaping products were seized by Trading Standards, while police also found evidence of staff being exploited due to their immigration status.

Operation Vulcan is an ongoing multi-agency initiative to tackle criminal activity in the Cheetham Hill and Strangeways areas of Manchester, which are well known as hotspots for fake designer goods. NTS estimates the trade in counterfeit goods to be worth £8.6bn per year, and businesses in Cheetham Hill are believed to be linked to almost 50% of the trade, earning it the title of the ‘UK capital for counterfeits’.

Greater Manchester Police Detective Inspector Christian Julian said: “Operation Vulcan has located numerous criminal enterprises in the Cheetham Hill and Strangeways area flouting laws to sell knock-off vapes.

“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, said: “This action shows the important role our Trading Standards Team has in keeping residents in Manchester safe.

“In the UK, vapes are an age-restricted product and highly regulated for safety and quality. Whilst not risk-free, vaping is much less harmful than smoking and can be a very effective tool for adult smokers trying to quit tobacco.

“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.”

2 responses to “Illicit vapes seized in Operation Vulcan”

  1. Justin Greenaway says:

    Did you know there is a legal requirement now to recycle vapes because confirmed as WEEE. You cannot send for incineration. EA have made this very clear. Did these get recycled and not incinerated?

  2. Mike Barret says:

    And you can bet the perpetrators will not have paid any WEEE fees.

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