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Businesses are reminded they need a licence to store and sell fireworks

Date05 October 2018

 All businesses who plan to sell and store fireworks for Diwali and/or Bonfire Night are reminded that they need an up to date explosives licence enabling them to safely store fireworks. 

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) Area Manager Lynsey McVay, said: “Not having a valid licence to store fireworks is a criminal offence and can lead to an unlimited fine, two years imprisonment or both. However the process is very simple businesses just need to request an inspection through our website, the inspection will then be arranged within 28 days.”

TWFRS Fire Safety Inspectors can help businesses through this process by carrying out inspections to ensure that fireworks are stored legally and safely in accordance with the Explosives Regulations 2014.  To request advice or apply for an explosives licence please visit our website and request an inspection using the online form www.twfire.gov.uk/community-safety/business/fireworks-explosive-regulations/   

In recent years, TWFRS has seen a number of incidents where business owners have received cautions, prison terms and fines – all because they did not have a valid licence or were storing fireworks unsafely and putting the public at significant risk.

In Newcastle, Fire Safety Inspectors discovered a significant quantity of fireworks that were not stored in a safe manner in an unlicensed shop. There was limited availability of fire extinguishers, which significantly increased the risk should there have been a fire. The owner received a sixteen week prison term, suspended for twelve months and ordered to pay costs of £500 plus £80 victim surcharge.

In another case, TWFRS received intelligence from our partners Northumbria Police that a person was storing and selling fireworks without a licence from their home. They were selling to members of the public, including children via Facebook. We identified a significant quantity of fireworks illegally stored in a bedroom - putting him, his family and neighbours at enormous risk. The fireworks were immediately seized and destroyed.

TWFRS have already had reports of fireworks being set off throughout the region.We would like to remind businesses and the public that it is illegal to sell fireworks outside of the selling period, at this time of year this is between 15th October and 10th November. Inspectors from our Business Fire Safety team, Northumbria Police and local Trading Standards teams will be conducting joint inspections to ensure the safety of all residents within Tyne and Wear.

Lynsey, concluded: "Diwali on 6th November and Bonfire Night on the 5th is less than a month away therefore it’s imperative that businesses get their inspection requests into us as soon as possible. TWFRS has produced a video to explain the application process to businesses: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuYqYHZb50c and watch out on our social media for safety messages for businesses and for persons using fireworks safely.

“Businesses simply can’t take risks with lives and their own livelihoods by storing and selling fireworks both illegally and dangerously. We are here to help and provide them with the advice that they need to pass the necessary inspections before they receive a licence to store at their premises.”

For more information please go to: www.twfire.gov.uk and to report concerns of storage or selling of fireworks outside of this period please contact our Business Fire Safety Team on 0191 444 1664 or 0191 444 1500 (out of hours).