A BOLTON vape store flouted lockdown trading rules ­— by claiming it was selling tinned food and toilet rolls.

Bolton Council said the majority of local firms have complied with restrictions put in place ­— but has had to close down six businesses during the outbreak.

Officers have visited 177 premises to carry out spot checks or respond to complaints ­— and sent out 78 warning letters to businesses.

One local firm, a business operating a chain of vaping shops, was been issued with a prohibition notice ordering it to shut immediately after failing to comply with a warning notice.

The firm tried to claim an exemption saying it had begun selling tinned food and toilet roll ­— a claim rejected by the council.

Non-essential shops and traders were forced to close on March 26 when the government introduced strict lockdown measures. Restrictions have only gradually been eased in recent weeks with premises such as garden centres and golf clubs allowed to open.

The majority of businesses providing non-essential goods and services must remain closed.

Bolton Council’s Regulatory Services department is responsible for enforcing the restrictions across the borough - with the police providing support with licensed premises such as pubs and restaurants.

Cllr Hilary Fairclough said: “The level of compliance with the lockdown by Bolton’s businesses during the crisis has been impressive. The vast majority have done what’s asked of them straight away.

“In most cases, where we have sent warning letters, the businesses have quickly closed. So we haven’t had to go to the enforcement stage. We have not had to consider fines or court action.

“Some issues have emerged in recent weeks as some of the lockdown measures have been eased. A small number of businesses have taken this as a cue to start opening – and where one opens it can encourage others to do so.

“But I would urge firms to put the safety of their local community, and wider public health, first. Please remain closed until restrictions are eased.

“As a council we are doing everything we can to help firms to access the support needed to get through the crisis.”