Two Darlington stores have been closed down for three months following an operation targeting those suspected of supplying illegal vapes and cigarettes. 

Darlington Mini Market, 127 Gladstone Street, Darlington and S V Mini Market, 111 Gladstone Street, Darlington, were both made subject of Premise Closure Orders with effect from June 18. 

The closure, following action by Darlington Trading Standards and Durham Police, remains in effect until midnight on September 17.

Both premises have been under investigation following several complaints about the sale of illegal vapes and cigarettes including to children.(Image: Darlington Council)

During multiple inspections of the premises, Trading Standards officers seized illegal products.

An application for the premises closure order was heard on Tuesday, June 18 at Peterlee Magistrates' Court. Magistrates granted the closure order against the retail premises after hearing evidence in relation to the criminal activity and nuisance.

The court also heard how on serving a Premise Closure Notice officers from the trading standards team had discovered 61 packs of illegal hand rolling tobacco in a holdall in one of the stores. The magistrates deemed the order was necessary to prevent further criminal behaviour.

The action follows extensive investigation work and intelligence gathering under Operation Nightstar into the supply of illicit and over-strength goods in Darlington, and the sale of vapes to children. Criminal offences are under investigation into the illegal supply of vapes from premises within the town.

Shaun Trevor, trading standards and animal health manager for Darlington Borough Council said: “The safety of our community is important to us and Darlington Trading Standards will continue to use every available tool to stop traders supplying illegal cigarettes and vapes, especially to children. Our zero-tolerance approach is clear: businesses who flout the law will face consequences.

“These Closure Orders will have an instant and substantial impact on this area of town. Across the town, there is ongoing multi-agency enforcement to tackle the supply of illegal tobacco and nicotine products.(Image: Darlington Council)

"Darlington Trading Standards team work very hard with partner agencies to stem the trade in illegal vapes and would urge anyone with information which may assist them to report it. Reporting to Trading Standards can be done anonymously using an online reporting form.”

Inspector Jim O’Connor, from Darlington Neighbourhood Police Team, said: “Illicit and dangerous tobacco and vapes can not only cause serious harm to people’s health but the proceeds are often invested into organised crime and can help fund more serious and violent offences.

“Supplying these products to underage children can also open them up to potential exploitation and criminality – if you are doing this, then you can expect a visit from us.

“We know that our communities will not tolerate the antisocial behaviour and criminality that these activities bring.

"If you have any information regarding potential criminality in your community then please report it to us - we will always act on intelligence submitted to us, as these closure orders have shown.”

If you have any information that can assist trading standards email or report it using the online form (this can be done anonymously) at