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Safer 6 campaign targets illegal sale of fireworks

Published 14th November 2022

Fireworks Safer 6

Sandwell Council’s Trading Standards working with West Midlands Police carried out an undercover test purchasing operation for fireworks as part of its Safer 6 campaign.

The test involved a 16-year-old volunteer who attempted to buy fireworks at six shops. Out of the six shops visited, five (83%) sold to the underage volunteer.

Each of the retailers who unlawfully sold fireworks on this occasion has been issued with a warning and reminder of the seriousness of the offence and the consequences of any further breach. This could include a criminal prosecution with a fine up to £5,000 and/or six months' imprisonment. Shop staff as well as business owners can be prosecuted for selling fireworks and retailers should reinforce this message with their employees.

Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for communities, Councillor Danny Millard, said: "This operation has made Sandwell a safer place as fireworks are legally classed as explosives. In the wrong hands they can cause serious injuries and pose a severe fire risk to property. Ultimately the law is there to ensure fireworks are sold to and used only by adults.”

A spokesperson for West Midlands Police said: “Every year during the time period covering Halloween and Bonfire Night, we see police officers, ambulance staff and fire crews attacked with fireworks. In the wrong hands these fireworks are extremely dangerous and can cause significant and sometimes permanent injuries to members of the public including those that buy them and do not follow the safety guidelines when using them.

"The only way that this issue can be addressed is by partnership work between trading standards and police and subsequent prosecution of both those in possession of illegal fireworks and the outlets selling them in contravention of the sales guidelines."

The operation was part of Sandwell's six-week Safer 6 community safety campaign