Brothers hit with £11,000 court bill for selling vapes illegally

Two brothers have been ordered to pay more than £11,000 by a court after threatening trading standards officers investigating their shop for the illegal sale of vapes.

Zahim and Saif Sharif, who both work for the family business at Russells Hall Road Convenience Store, appeared at Dudley Magistrates Court on Friday.

The court heard a trading standards child volunteer was sold a watermelon-flavoured disposable vape on a visit to the shop in October 2022.

When the accompanying trading standards officer entered the store to carry out an investigation, he was prevented from going behind the counter or into the storeroom by Zahim. The 21-year-old pushed the officer and the investigation had to be abandoned, the court was told.

Investigations into the shop continued and when a second officer made a follow-up visit, he witnessed Saif selling illegal disposable vapes to a customer.

The court heard the trading standards officer seized the vapes and gave Saif a receipt, which he scrunched up into a ball and threw back at the officer. The 20-year-old was also verbally aggressive, accusing the officer of stealing the vapes from him.

Trading standards had already seized more than 100 illegal vapes in November 2021 from the brothers, who the court heard were sent advisory letters on their trading practices.

Zahim, of Denewood Road, Birmingham, admitted selling a disposable vape to a child and was found guilty after trial of obstructing a trading standards officer in the course of their duty. He was ordered to pay a total of £6,121 in fines and court costs.

Saif, also of Denewood Road, denied selling illegal disposable vapes and obstruction a trading standards officer in the course of their duty. He was found guilty on both counts after trial and ordered to pay a total of £5,189 in fines and court costs.

Dr Mayada Abu Affan, director of public health and responsible for trading standards at Dudley Council, said: “We welcome the sizeable financial penalties in this case, and hope it will act as a deterrent to others. We take the sale of nicotine to children and the sale of illegal disposable vapes seriously.

“We also do not tolerate any aggression shown to officers and investigate such matters thoroughly. In this case, our officers acted professionally and were courteous throughout despite being obstructed from carrying out their duties.

“Our officers are there to ensure public safety and that businesses are trading on a level playing field.”


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