THE owner of a shop who sold an illicit vape to a Journal reporter said he "didn't know" the product was illegal.

Vape Point was among several shops in the city centre which were caught selling an illegally-sized vape as part of an exclusive investigation last October.

The shop, owned by Ersoy Kachmaz, is an expansion of Juice Point which opened on August 9, 2023.

Soon after our reporter bought a vape, Trading Standards visited the shop as part of a routine inspection of the new business when the officer found the illegal products displayed on a top shelf.

Mr Kachmaz, 53, claimed his previous wholesaler sold him the illegal vapes and told him they are "the ones that sell best" so he put them up high for all to see.

Salisbury Journal: Ersoy Kachmaz no longer sells illegal vapes.Ersoy Kachmaz no longer sells illegal vapes. (Image: Newsquest)

When it later transpired that the products were illegal, Mr Kachmaz changed wholesaler after getting into a conflict over why the previous seller did not tell him the vapes were illicit.

He found more vapes following the inspection which he also handed over to Trading Standards.

Mr Kachmaz, who has lived in Salisbury for five years, said: "When we first opened we didn't know what was legal and what was not.

"It's our fault, we didn't research them and I should have checked but if they are being sold elsewhere it should be normal."

Selling the 'big vapes' was of no benefit as, although they were more expensive to buy, Mr Kachmaz did not earn more profit on them and he would rather customers come back more frequently to buy smaller vapes, he explained.

Salisbury Journal: Vape Point.Vape Point. (Image: Newsquest)

Business partner Suna Walker runs Juice Point and said Mr Kachmaz followed his wholesaler's suggestion because his English is "not very good".

The vape shop arm of the business was set up to subsidise the costs of running a juice shop which has struggled to survive, especially over winter.

"He is not keen to sell vapes alongside the Juice Point but unfortunately people did not want healthy things. To be able to stay we needed to add something and I would not have survived, especially in winter," Mrs Walker explained.

When a Journal reporter revisited Vape Point as part of a follow up investigation in February 2024, Mr Kacmaz said his shop no longer sold the illicit products.