A shop has been forced to close for three weeks after being found selling illegal vapes and counterfeit tobacco. The 'Ponty Mini-market', formerly known as 'Alan's Store', was caught by trading standards officers in Pontypool.

Illegal vapes can contain harmful chemicals which are damaging to people's health, particularly of children.

Using powers under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, the team applied for a closure order which was granted at a hearing at Newport Magistrates' Court on Tuesday 9 April 2024. The order prevents access to the premises unless specifically agreed in writing by the council.

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Breaching a closure order is a criminal offence and could result in imprisonment for up to three months, an unlimited fine, or both.

Daniel Morelli, head of public protection and environment, said: "A closure order is a fast and flexible power that can be used by councils to close premises which are being used, or likely to be used, to commit crime or anti-social behaviour.

"Illegal vapes do not meet product standards and have been known to contain harmful substances and chemicals, which could be damaging to health, particularly to children. The council's trading standards team will take robust action to protect the public and legitimate businesses from risks of harm."

Sergeant Annalea Kift, Partnership & Communities at Gwent Police, said: "There has been some excellent, proactive work involving the targeting of illicit cigarettes and illegal vapes in Torfaen."

"We are committed to making communities safer and better places to live and work, and we will always work closely with our partners and local residents to ensure we achieve this. "Any offences on the sale of vaping products and cigarettes should be reported to Trading Standards."