GMP Rochdale’s Complex Safeguarding Team (CST) and the Council’s Trading Standards seized over 750 illegal vapes worth approximately £9000 in a joint operation

GMP Rochdale’s Complex Safeguarding Team (CST) and the Council’s Trading Standards seized over 750 illegal vapes worth approximately £9000 in a joint operation

This week, members of GMP Rochdale’s CST joined forces with Rochdale Council’s Trading Standards in visiting four retailers across the town that were suspected of selling illegal vapes.

The legal limit of puffs in a ‘normal’ vape is 600/700 and anything over this has not been tested and can therefore be harmful to anyone using them. Most of the vapes seized were 3500 puffs and above.

Not only are these illegal vapes harmful to health, but they also put children at risk of criminal exploitation and child sexual exploitation.

The flavours of these vapes are attractive to children and the levels of nicotine in them are highly addictive, meaning children are also being coerced into criminal activity and sexual exploitation, to enable them to continue using them.

DC Chris Davies of Rochdale Complex Safeguarding Team at GMP said: “We have been running Op Vigilant on a monthly basis – a multi-agency response to child exploitation – since 2021 and during these days of action, we visit premises around Rochdale to act on intelligence that GMP has been provided with.

“We have been out with Trading Standards and we have focused on illegal vapes being sold in petrol stations, newsagents and other retail outlets. We are committed to being proactive in our work and uncovering any activity that may lead to CCE and CSE.”

Rochdale Cabinet Member and Councillor Liam O’Rourke said: “We are again, really impressed with the work carried out by our trading standards team, assisted by GMP today.

“As a result, over 750 illegal vapes, worth around £9,000, were seized from several retailers throughout the borough of Rochdale. The team had previously warned all retailers about the consequences of selling illegal vapes.

“All of the vapes seized were well above the permitted size, and the retailers will now be subject to further investigation.”

If you are concerned about a child’s welfare or have any information regarding any activities being carried out in Rochdale that are worrying to you, you are asked to contact Greater Manchester Police via or by dialling 101. You can also share information anonymously via the independent charity – Crimestoppers – on 0800 555 111.

Could you spot a child who is at risk of CSE or CCE?

Spot the signs of child exploitation: Going missing for periods of time or regularly returning home late; skipping school or being disruptive in class; appearing with unexplained gifts or possessions that can’t be accounted for; experiencing health problems that may indicate a sexually transmitted infection; having mood swings and changes in temperament; using drugs and/or alcohol; displaying inappropriate sexualised behaviour, such as over-familiarity with strangers, dressing in a sexualised manner or sending sexualised images by mobile phone (“sexting”); increasing their screen time or showing unusual use of online platforms, such as websites, social media, apps or games; they may also show signs of unexplained physical harm, such as bruising and cigarette burns.

If you or someone you know has been raped or sexually assaulted, we encourage you not to suffer in silence and report it to the police, or a support agency so you can get the help and support available.

– Saint Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre, Manchester provides a comprehensive and co-ordinated response to men, women and children who live or have been sexually assaulted within Greater Manchester. They offer forensic medical examinations, practical and emotional support as well as a counselling service for all ages. Services are available on a 24-hour basis and can be accessed by calling 0161 276 6515.

– Greater Manchester Rape Crisis is a confidential information, support and counselling service run by women for women over 18 who have been raped or sexually abused at any time in their lives. Call on 0161 273 4500 or email

– Survivors Manchester provides specialist trauma informed support to male victims in Greater Manchester who have experienced sexual abuse, rape or sexual exploitation. Call 0161 236 2182.

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