PEOPLE across Newtownabbey are being urged to be mindful of the dangers of illegal fireworks and the risks associated with the misuse of fireworks.
In the run up to this year’s Halloween festivities, police are appealing to people to stay safe when using fireworks, and are warning those who break the law that they could face prosecution.
In a bid to get the firework safety message across to young people, Constable Brian Herron and Beam Creative Network conducted a special workshop with pupils at Glengormley High School on Tuesday, October 2.
“The weeks prior to and after Halloween are an incredibly busy time of the year for local police.
“This year we want to make it as safe and enjoyable as possible for people while at the same time making it clear that anyone caught breaking the law will be dealt with robustly,” said Newtownabbey Area Commander, Chief Inspector Stephen Reid.
“The law on fireworks is clear. You need a licence to buy, possess or use fireworks. The law also states that fireworks must be bought from a licensed dealer and that dealers must keep records of who they sell fireworks to.
“While most people in Newtownabbey will behave responsibly and buy their fireworks with the appropriate license from legitimate retailers, there are still some who persist in purchasing illegal fireworks (and bangers) from suspect sources with no regard for just how volatile and dangerous they can be.
“Others choose to get involved in the misuse of fireworks - throwing illegal bangers and so on - causing incredible annoyance and fear for many residents.
“Bangers in particular, result in young people being seriously injured every year.
“As bangers are illegal and therefore unregulated, detonation times are irregular at best, ranging from 0 to 4 seconds.
“Officers on patrol have already seized bangers - we know they are out there in the hands of young people. If you know of anyone selling bangers - please let us know, your actions may prevent a young person from sustaining life changing injuries.”
He continued: “My officers will be conducting high visibility patrols in hotspot areas in the lead up to Halloween to prevent crimes occurring. What might seem like a prank to some young people may actually amount to carrying out an assault or causing criminal damage.
“Those involved in this type of behaviour will have to face the consequences. We hope that with the support of parents, schools and the local community we can work to help make Halloween safe and enjoyable for everyone.”
Meanwhile, Justice Minister David Ford has also urged the public to stay safe and within the law this Halloween.
Launching this year’s Fireworks Safety Awareness Campaign, Mr Ford said: “Last year 20 young people suffered fireworks injuries. We need to reduce these figures and keep our young people safe.
“If everyone acts responsibly and adheres to the Firework Code we can help reduce injuries and ensure Halloween is a fun experience for all.”
More information about the law on fireworks is available online at www.nidirect.gov.uk/fireworks