New Year fireworks warning after rogue seller prosecuted

Fire chiefs in Tyne and Wear hope the prosecution of a rogue fireworks seller will send a ‘message’ to anyone planning to copy him.
File picture of a sparkler c/o PixabayFile picture of a sparkler c/o Pixabay
File picture of a sparkler c/o Pixabay

Fireworks thought to be worth about £15,000 were seized in raids after they were found to be sorted dangerously in the run up to Bonfire Night earlier this year.

And as stores gear up to begin stocking them again in preparation for New Year celebrations, they have been reminded of their responsibilities to ensure the safety of their staff and the public.

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You can be fined up to £5,000 and imprisoned for up to six months for selling or using fireworks illegally. You could also get an on-the-spot fine of £90.

“We carried out 86 explosives inspections by dedicated officers in the fire safety team and a small number of joint inspections with Northumbria Police and trading standards teams,” said assistant chief fire officer (ACFO) Alan Robson

“We developed a leaflet for the responsible person in each location and circulated about storage and safe selling of fireworks.”

He added: “About 500kg of fireworks were seized at one premises and what is pleasing to note was the person was given an eight-month suspended sentence for that.

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“That takes the message people will be prosecuted and it does have an impact on the community.”

ACFO Robson was speaking at a meeting of the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Authority on Monday December 16.

At Bonfire Night 2019 there were 130 explosives licences in place in Tyne and Wear allowing regulated stores to sell fireworks.

This number included 35 new licences being approved or old ones being renewed – half the number issued in 2018.

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In November Yaseen Ashraf, owner of properties in the Burnside, West Denton, Newcastle, was given an eight-month custodial sentence, suspended for 18 months; ordered to carry out 150 hours of community service and pay £850 in costs after inspectors seized about 200 boxes of fireworks.

As well as storing more than 370kg of fireworks at premises without a proper licence he was also found to be storing them among other ‘combustible materials’.