Retailers warned of police action if caught selling fireworks to under 18s

Chief Inspector Sarah Pitt
Chief Inspector Sarah Pitt

Retailers across South Tyneside are being warned they will face police action if they are caught selling fireworks to under 18s.

The reminder, as part of the Darker Nights campaign, comes as the Bonfire season gets underway.

The law states it is illegal for under 18s to buy or be in possession of an adults firework - and those caught are being warned they will face police action.

Chief Inspector Sarah Pitt said: “We want everyone to have a safe and enjoyable bonfire season and not have it ruined by fireworks being misused.

“In our effort to do this we want to make sure people are clear on the law around fireworks and that they don’t get into the wrong hands and are used by youngsters playing around - you must be over 18 to buy or be in possession of a firework in a public place.

“Our absolute priority is public safety and we want our communities to work with us on this. Retailers are reminded if they’re unsure of whether someone is underage to ask for ID and while we would prefer people to attend an organised display if adults are buying fireworks we ask that they make sure they are stored safely out of harms way.”

Assistant Chief Officer Chris Lowther, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Businesses intending to store and sell fireworks must ensure that their premises have a current explosives licence and that adequate fire safety provisions are in place to store fireworks safely.

“In recent years we have seen an increase in fireworks being advertised and sold via social media without a licence or appropriate safe storage arrangements in place, putting members of the public at risk.

“The safety of the public is at the centre of everything we do, therefore I remind those businesses and the public that we will consider prosecuting anyone who sells and stores fireworks illegally.”

Further guidance and advice can be found at

Residents can report issues relating to underage or illegal sales by calling the confidential hotline on 0800 093 5878.

Coun Tracey Dixon, Lead Member for Area Management and Community Safety at South Tyneside Council, said: “Bonfire Night is meant to be a time of fun and excitement, but it can also be extremely hazardous. It is vital that we remind people that fireworks are not toys, but explosives, and are dangerous if misused.

“Our Trading Standards Team is playing a key role in the Darker Nights campaign by advising retailers how they can meet their responsibilities when it comes to the sale of fireworks to ensure they don’t fall into the hands of minors.

“We are encouraging people to support us by reporting any underage sales of fireworks or where they suspect fireworks are being sold by unlicensed traders so that the authorities can take whatever action is necessary. We would also urge residents to adhere to the advice about bringing their wheelie bins in as soon as they can after they have been emptied.”