Fireworks - be safe and know the law

The PSNI has issued a timely reminder over the law on the purchase and use of fireworks.

Chief Inspector Stephen Reid said: “Fireworks are extremely dangerous. They are made from explosive material, and if improperly handled, have the potential to cause very serious life-changing injuries.

“I would urge parents to ensure your children are aware of this danger. Fireworks and bangers are illegal because of the danger they present. Any person who sells or supplies these items is acting illegally and with total disregard for the safety of others who use them.

“The law clearly states that fireworks must be bought from a licensed dealer who is required to keep sales records. Fireworks bought from other sources could be of a sub-standard quality presenting an even bigger risk of injury. It is essential that you have a licence when purchasing any fireworks.

“PSNI advice to individuals planning firework displays is to deal with registered and licensed traders and seek their specialist knowledge. “Pet owners are asked to keep their animals in a safe environment during fireworks displays, as they can find the noise and lights very unsettling.

“We would also appeal to the community to help us stamp out illegal trading and misuse of fireworks by contacting local police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Your information may help prevent ongoing anti-social behaviour or someone being seriously injured.

“Your local Neighbourhood Policing Team will provide advice and assistance if required.”

Further information relating to fireworks can be found at the following link: http://www.nidirect.gov.uk

Some fireworks guidance:

• You must not possess, buy or use fireworks (except indoor fireworks and sparklers) unless you have a fireworks licence issued by the Department of Justice for Northern Ireland.

• You must show your licence to the retailer when you buy your fireworks.

• All sparkler packets must have the following wording on it – “Warning: not to be given to children under 5 years of age.”

• The packaging of fireworks must be labelled in English.

• Fireworks must not be thrown or let off in a street or public place (other than a properly licensed public display).

• Category 1 (indoor) fireworks must not be sold to children under 16 years of age.

• Category 2 (garden) and category 3 (display) fireworks must not be sold to persons under 18 years of age.

• It is illegal for fireworks to be sold from premises not licensed/registered by the Department of Justice (retailers are required to display their certificates of registration at the point of sale)d/or 6 months’ imprisonment.

Please note that the above guidance is not a substitute for the law. Fireworks offences carry a maximum fine of £5,000 and/or six months’ imprisonment.