NORTH Ayrshire has more shops selling illegal vapes than anywhere else in Scotland, a study has found.

A total of 48 stores across the region have been discovered selling the illicit products between January 1, 2023 and February 29 this year.

The number is greater than that in Scotland's biggest city, with 46 shops in Glasgow found to be stocking illegal vapes.

It comes after data was released by Vape Superstore following a Freedom of Information (FOI) request made to every council in the UK.

From the near 50 North Ayrshire shops, shops, the seventh highest in the UK, found stocking these items during this time, a total of 2,958 vapes were seized.

In addition to the electronic products, the data revealed that 812 packs of illegal cigarettes have also been seized from businesses in North Ayrshire.

However, North Ayrshire Council looked to add some context to the figures obtained via the FOI.

While the number of shops found selling the products in North Ayrshire is the highest in Scotland, this only refers to those who have been identified by local partners.

The council say that the data makes clear that the local trading standards agency, working alongside Police Scotland, have taken a proactive approach to handling the issue of illegal nicotine products being sold locally.

It is this approach which has led to a vast number of illicit items being taken from stockists in the county.

It was added that they hope this will warn those still selling the products that this practice will not be tolerated.

A North Ayrshire Council spokesperson said: “We take a very proactive approach to the sales of illegal vapes and work extremely closely in many joint operations with our partners at Police Scotland.

“Hopefully this data serves as a stark reminder to those serving illegal vapes that we will not turn a blind eye to this and will continually clamp down on this practice.”