A joint operation saw Weymouth town centre shops raided in a crackdown on the supply and sale of illegal tobacco and vapes.

Officers from the police, HMRC and Dorset Council's Trading Standards team were seen across the town yesterday, entering three shops in what was described as a 'successful multi-agency operation.’ The investigation was led by Trading Standards.

Trading Standards were not able to confirm what was seized - but the Echo witnessed officers carrying bags of produce out of Amsterdam Market on the Esplanade and Global Store on Westham Road.

A third shop was visited but nothing was seized from these premises.

Dorset Echo: The operation started at around 10.30 am on Tuesday with the team visiting Amsterdam Market on the central seafront with shoppers and people waiting for the bus looking on.

Members of HMRC were seen loading vapes and tobacco products onto the floor before placing them into clear bags to be taken away after a sniffer dog was deployed.

Dorset Echo: A police car and dog van were blocking the Portland bus stop, meaning passengers experienced a delay of around 15 minutes before the bus was moved to another stop.

Around 14 bags of products were taken out of Amsterdam Market and away by the authorities.

Dorset Echo: The operation had the aim of disrupting the supply and sale of illegal vapes and tobacco.

One passer-by said: “It doesn’t look good, I saw them lead a dog in there earlier and with HMRC I think it’s to do with customs.”

The operation then moved onto the recently-opened Global Store on Westham Road around 12.55pm. Officers were seen pointing at vapes in the shop before a small amount were then put on the floor.

Police were then seen to be investigating the car immediately outside the shop, deploying the sniffer dog again to the car.

Dorset Echo: Steve Poxon of Jurassic Caravans and Camping Accessories nearby said: “They must have been planning something for a while as they hit another shop on the seafront this morning.”

Locals in the area were shocked as the business had only recently opened within the last week. A passer-by said: “Gosh - the shop only sprung up last week. It’s good to see the police are on it.”

Members of the Dorset Council Trading Standards Team were seen carrying out around two to three smaller bags of vapes out of the shop at around 1.45pm.

Dorset Echo: Another shop was visited during the process of the investigation, however no items were seized.

Officers are believed to have left the area around 2.30pm. 

Specific details of what actions were taken will be provided in due course, according to a spokesperson for Dorset Council.

They said: "Dorset Council’s Trading Standards team took part in a successful multi-agency operation in Weymouth today, with the aim of disrupting the supply and sale of illegal vapes and tobacco.

"We’d like to thank our colleagues at Dorset Police, the HMRC, and the Regional Trading Standards Illegal Tobacco & Vapes officer, for a job well done. We’ll provide details of what specific actions were taken in due course."

The spokesperson added: “Trading Standards work closely with other enforcement agencies to protect the health of Dorset residents and the interests of legitimate Dorset businesses. We welcome any intelligence about the illegal sale of tobacco, vapes, or other age-restricted products - these can be reported, anonymously if desired, to Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Service,” the spokesperson added.

A spokesperson for Dorset Police said: "We can confirm that officers supported a Trading Standards-led investigation."

An HMRC spokesperson said: “We can confirm we had officers working in the Weymouth area on March 26, alongside partners in Dorset Police and Trading Standards.”