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SMOKED OUT: Illegal products and signage confiscated from vape shop Ricky High Street store

 Published on: 20th April 2024   |   By: Sophia Sheera   |   Category: Uncategorized

After four weeks of widespread objection, the latest vape shop on Rickmansworth High Street has removed its illegal products and signage.

Yellow Express vape shop on the High Street has taken down its yellow shopfront façade, alongside a dozen posters advertising e-cigarettes plastered to the glass. Upon visiting the shop, officers from Three Rivers District Council (TRDC) also confiscated a number of illegal cigarettes, tobacco and vapes offered for sale.

The council found that Yellow Express at 163 High Street, had illegally erected signs which breached the Conservation Area regulations that apply to Ricky’s town centre. The owner of the shop was told that the signage had to be removed by April 19, or else legal action would be taken.

Celebrating the win, Ricky residents hope that TRDC will continue to put resources towards upholding Conservation Area regulations in the area.

In fact, Chair of Batchworth Community Council Andrea Fraser told RickyNews that she has received more correspondence from unhappy Ricky residents on the topic of vape shops than any other subject during her time in office.

Residents’ objections are manifold: firstly, worried parents are concerned that vape shops in Rickmansworth are marketing e-cigarettes to look like toys. Some have noted that businesses are banned from promoting the sale and consumption of tobacco products, although the rules around e-cigarettes are admittedly less clear-cut.

Others simply want a diverse array of shops to reinvigorate Ricky’s High Street, rather than endless vape shops.

Since the government changed the rules in 2020, shops no longer have to apply for permission to change from one kind of business to another, meaning that vape shops can currently open where they like.

Regardless, TRDC and Hertfordshire County Council are said to be investigating breaches of trading and planning controls at Yellow Express, with the owners liable to potential prosecution.

A Three Rivers District Council spokesperson said: “The council requested the business owners to remove the unauthorised shop frontage advertisements as they did not receive express consent from the Local Planning Authority.

“Whilst no response was initially received, the unauthorised signage was removed after officers further advised the owners that the council would commence prosecution proceedings if the adverts were not removed by Friday, April 19,  2024.

“The council will work closely with those responsible, who have now made contact with officers, to ensure that future adverts are sympathetic. Any future advertisement consent application will be considered in line with policy.”

Photo credit: Stephen Giles-Medhurst

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