A shop has been forced to shut down for three months after it was reportedly selling illegal tobacco and vapes.

The ‘Qwidz In’ shop on Murray Street in Hartlepool will be closed to customers until July 11 after a trading standards probe.

Teesside Magistrates Court heard reports had been received from members of the public over a number of months about the sale of illicit tobacco and illegal vapes from the premises.

Magistrates decided to slap it with a closure order and make the shopkeeper pay costs of £1,800.

Sylvia Pinkney from Hartlepool Borough Council said: “This demonstrates how we are determined to clamp down on illegal activity such as this to protect members of the public and legitimate local businesses

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“The supply of cheap counterfeit tobacco leads to many issues – it causes a nuisance to the local community, it makes it easier for children to obtain tobacco and it has a negative impact on local businesses trading legally who lose custom.”

The landlord will only be allowed in the premises if they receive permission in advance.

The council has urged anyone who sees the order being breached to call police.