Julia Breen reports
Over 300 illegal vapes, including some shaped like children's toys, have been seized in County Durham.
The Council's trading standards visited three shops and confiscated the oversized products - some of which had tanks ten times the legal limit.
The operation took place following intelligence reported by the public. In total 326 vapes were seized.
Among those seized was a bright pink vape made to look like a children's milkshake.
Despite containing highly addictive nicotine, it had a capacity over the legal limit of 20ml, which is thought to be around 7,000 puffs.
The council is now urging parents to make sure their children know about these products.
UK law bans the sale of products containing nicotine to under 18s and limits how much nicotine and e-liquid can be contained in disposable vapes.
Since March last year, Durham Council's trading standards officers have seized almost 5,500 illegal vapes worth an estimated £66,000.
Durham County Councillor, John Shuttleworth, said: "Retailers must make sure the products they sell comply with UK regulations.
"All of the vapes seized in this operation had oversized tanks and none of them had been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
"We encourage all retailers to ensure they only source such products from a reputable supplier.
He continued: "It was particularly concerning to find a pink toy-shaped vape branded as a strawberry ice cream 'Twister Bar' and with a cartoon illustration on the side."
"It's the first time we've come across this particular product in County Durham and we're keen to make parents and carers aware that these products are out there."
"We will continue to work closely with our partners to tackle the issue and remove illegal products from the marketplace when we find them."
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