Directors of two Bedford shops fined for selling vapes to underage customers

Both have now stopped selling vapes in Bedford
Both shops have now stopped selling vapesBoth shops have now stopped selling vapes
Both shops have now stopped selling vapes

The directors of two Bedford shops have been hit in the pocket to the tune of more than £20,000 for selling vapes to underage customers.

Mr Lal Stanikzai, Director of Mobilise Group Ltd, and Mr Adill Hussain, Director of Beauty Cosmetics (Bedford) Ltd were each fined £1,600 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £640 at Luton Magistrates Court on Friday (March 1). They were also ordered to cover Bedford Borough Council’s full costs.

Mr Stanikzai, who operates over 20 stores across England, including one in the Harpur Centre, was warned in May 2023 after failing a test purchase.

But despite being given advice on procedures to prevent underage sales, he was caught out in June 2023 and then again in August, in what the council called a “concerning disregard of legal obligations”. His total penalties tallied nearly £11,500.

Mr Hussain, who has seven stores nationwide with one in Allhallows, received a warning and advice following a failed test purchase in March 2023. Despite this, another incident occurred in June. He also had a prior prosecution by Bristol Trading Standards in November 2023 – which the council said “underscores his repeated disregard for regulations”.

His financial penalties totted up to nearly £9,000.

Both have now ceased the sale of vapes at their Bedford stores.

Councillor Phillippa Martin-Moran-Bryant, portfolio holder for community safety, regulatory services, and housing, said: "We take the protection of our young residents very seriously. The prosecution of these traders demonstrates our resolve to uphold the law and ensure that businesses operate responsibly, especially when it comes to age-restricted products."

Visit the council’s website for advice and information on how to report concerns.