A shop owner in Welham Green has been fined after he was caught selling a vape to a 16-year-old in a council sting.

Srikanthan Enathinathan, 50, of Corfe Avenue in South Harrow, was fined £554 after admitting the offence at St Albans Magistrates' Court.

The court heard that Hertfordshire County Council’s Trading Standards team had sent an underage volunteer into North Mymms Food & Wine, in Dellsome Lane in Welham Green, on February 13, 2023, where he was sold a vape containing nicotine.

In the UK, you must be 18-years-old to buy any smoking products, including a vape.

The sole trader of the business, Mr Enathinathan, was not in the shop at the time, but his staff failed to ask for proof of age, despite operating a Challenge 25 policy.

The sales assistant told the owner that he thought he recognised the purchaser, and had previously been shown ID so did not verify their age.

The owner had given advice on underage sales by Trading Standards officers just six months prior to the test purchase, but, training records for staff were incomplete and a record of refusals and challenges was not available for staff to confirm previous dealings.

"This prosecution should send a clear message that we will take action against businesses that aren’t complying with the law on the sale of vapes," said Cllr Morris Bright, executive member for public health and community safety at Hertfordshire County Council.

"With vaping becoming ever more popular, it’s important that we protect children from the health risks posed by vapes containing nicotine.

"If any businesses are unclear about the regulations and their responsibilities, our Trading Standards team will be very happy to provide advice and support to help them operate in a safe and legal way."