Essex shopkeeper prosecuted for selling vapes to a child

A cloud of smoke on a black background.

An Essex shopkeeper has been prosecuted after selling vape products to a child.   

Suleyman Kasakol, Director of Zagros Market Ltd, was charged following a test purchase operation by Essex Trading Standards. 

Kasakol, of Gant Court, Waltham Abbey, pleaded guilty to selling a vape to an underage person at Chelmsford Magistrates Court on Thursday 9 May.

Zagros Market Ltd was fined £2,000, with a victim surcharge of £800. Kasakol was fined £500 with a victim surcharge £200. Costs of £2,800 must also be paid.

In August 2023, Essex Trading Standards Officers carried out an underage test purchasing exercise at Zagros Market Ltd, in Highbridge Street, Waltham Abbey. 

This followed complaints about age restricted products being sold to children. 

During the exercise, a 16-year-old test purchase volunteer was sold a nicotine containing e-cigarette.

This is not the first time the shop has illegally sold age restricted goods. The business also received a warning and advice after selling a nicotine containing vape to an underage test purchaser in July 2023.

Councillor Mark Durham, Essex County Council Cabinet Member responsible for Essex Trading Standards, said: 

While vapes can be used to support adults who wish to quit tobacco cigarettes, they should not be used by those who do not smoke and are not intended for use by children as they are not free of risk.

Sellers of age restricted goods including vapes need to ensure that they are vigilant and always ask to see proof of age before making a sale to a young person. They must have robust processes in place, including staff training, to guard against any illegal underage sales. 

This case sends a strong message that businesses that break the law will be targeted by Trading Standards and persistent offenders will be prosecuted.

If you are concerned that a shop might be selling age restricted products to children, you can report this to Trading Standards. Call the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133 or visit the website.