MORE than 1,000 illegal vapes were seized during shop raids following an investigation by the Journal.

Four newly-opened vape shops across Salisbury sold illicit vapes with capacities of up to 20 ml, 10 times the limit imposed in the UK by the Tobacco Products Directive, to a Journal reporter.

Some of these 'rechargeable disposable' vapes advertise themselves as offering 10,000 puffs when a legal vape would typically allow for just 700.

The shops did not ask our reporter for identification to prove they were over the age of 18 nor did they ask questions when the reporter said they were purchasing the vape for someone else.

Salisbury Journal: These illegal vapes were sold to our reporter.These illegal vapes were sold to our reporter. (Image: Newsquest)

Trading Standards raided three shops on Friday, November 10, following the tip-off and seized more than 1,000 illegal vapes from two of them, after the Journal reported the purchases to Wiltshire Council on October 17.

Councillor Nick Holder, cabinet member for public protection, said: “The Salisbury Journal alerted us to a number of shops in Salisbury selling illegal vapes. Our trading standards team investigated these reports to verify the claims and have now visited the shops with officers from Wiltshire Police.

"Subsequently, two of the shops visited were found to have illegal vapes. In total, over 1,000 illegal vapes were seized from the shops.

"Our investigations are continuing but, we would like to thank the Salisbury Journal for bringing this illegal activity to our attention.”

Which shops sold our reporter an illegal vape?

This investigation came after six brightly-decorated shopfronts selling vapes and smoking paraphernalia recently popped up in the city centre.

While some of the shops market themselves as an option for people who are seeking an alternative to smoking cigarettes, others openly advertise 'grinders' and 'bongs'.

Grocery and Vape, an independently-owned business at 17 Catherine Street, took a 'RandM Tornado', which advertises itself as having 9,000 puffs, from under the counter and sold it to our reporter for £18.

Salisbury Journal: Grocery and Vape in Catherine Street.Grocery and Vape in Catherine Street. (Image: Salisbury Journal)

Juice Point opened in the Old George Mall on August 9 and weeks later Vape Point opened next door selling vapes at discounted prices to customers paying by cash.

Vape Point charged our reporter £14 for a 7,000-puff 'Digvape Twister Bar', which the shopkeeper took from the top shelf.

Salisbury Journal: Vape Point in Old George Mall.Vape Point in Old George Mall. (Image: Salisbury Journal)

Red Power Shop replaced Every Cloud Vape Shop, at 15 Minster Street, in October. Here, our reporter was sold a WGA Crystal Pro Max+ containing 20 ml of liquid, around 10,000 puffs, for £15.

The shopkeeper also handed out a card advertising cheaply-priced cigarettes and tobacco pouches but Trading Standards did not find any illegal tobacco during the raid.

Salisbury Journal: Red Power Shop sold our reporter an illegal vape.Red Power Shop sold our reporter an illegal vape. (Image: Newsquest)

Another shop, which was not raided by Trading Standards, sold our reporter a WGA Crystal Pro Max+ for £9 cash only with no receipt.

Evapo opened at 35 Blue Boar Row on Saturday, October 14, and had 'THINK 25' signs posted throughout the store. Our reporter could not purchase an illegal vape here.

Salisbury Journal: Evapo in Blue Boar Row.Evapo in Blue Boar Row. (Image: Salisbury Journal)

Evapo's CEO Andre Kuttif spoke exclusively to the Journal about the impact of illegal vapes.

Read more: Evapo boss calls for bigger fines on shops selling illegal vapes

Salisbury MP hopes the shops are prosecuted 'with the full force of the law'

Salisbury's MP John Glen said: "Vaping has an important role to play in helping people to quit smoking, but it disturbs me to see it adopted as a lifestyle choice or, worse still, a gateway to nicotine addiction.

“I hope that any shops that are not selling vape products responsibly are prosecuted with the full force of the law.”

People can report businesses selling illegal products to Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice consumer helpline by calling 0808 223 1133.

The Citizens Advice consumer helpline is open every weekday (Monday to Friday) 9am to 5pm, excluding bank holidays.