A couple who run a newsagents have been fined more than £750 for selling an e-cigarette to a 16-year-old during a test purchase.

Mohammed Reehan Khan and Saba Reehan, who run Palace Newsagents in Kirkham, have been ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £780 for selling an e-cigarette to a 16-year-old girl.

The sale was made during a test purchasing exercise organised by Lancashire County Council's trading standards officers.

On September 28, the married couple Mr and Mrs Reehan each pleaded guilty at Blackpool Magistrates' Court to an offence under the Children and Families Act 2014.

The court was told how, on February 22, the 16-year-old entered Palace Newsagents on Poulton Street, where Mohammed Reehan Khan sold her a 'Watermelon Elf Bar' without challenging her to provide proof of her age.

This device is a disposable e-cigarette containing nicotine and the law prohibits sales of nicotine-inhaling products to under-18's. 

Mohammed Reehan Khan said that he was not aware of a minimum age for purchasing e-cigarettes and vapes.

His wife, Saba Patel, who owns the business, said that the shop had only started to sell these products in the past six months. 

Mrs Saba Reehan, who owns the business, was fined £115, ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £34 and council costs of £125.

Her husband, Mr Mohammed Reehan, who sold the Elf bar to the young volunteer, was fined £346, ordered to pay a £35 surcharge and council costs of £125.

Lancashire County Council's trading standards team carried out the test purchase operation in response to an increase in the number of complaints relating to underage sales of vaping products across the county.

Cabinet member for health and wellbeing, Cllr Michael Green, said: "Selling vaping products to children is disgraceful. Vaping can be harmful to the health of young people.

“I congratulate our trading standards team for again successfully taking action against a retailer who was breaking the law.

"Once again, this case sends out a clear message that we won’t tolerate anyone selling vaping products to children under the age of 18 in Lancashire.

"We work with businesses to ensure they comply with the law and act responsibly. However, we will not hesitate to prosecute, especially where previous advice is ignored.”

It is a criminal offence to sell nicotine inhaling products to anyone under 18. Nicotine inhaling products include e-cigarettes, cartridges and e-liquids.