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Cumbria County Council's Trading Standards and Fire and Rescue Services have once again joined forces with Cumbria Police in the lead up to the firework sales period to remind retailers to be vigilant and ensure that fireworks are not sold to anyone under the age of 18. Bonfire night is fast approaching, and whilst it’s a time for fun and enjoyment, the firework season can often encourage incidents of anti social behaviour which can cause concern in many neighbourhoods. Fireworks will go on sale from this week (w/c 15 October).
The partnership is also taking this opportunity to remind young people of the serious consequences of firework misuse. Posters designed by schoolchildren in Carlisle will reinforce the safety message 'Don't fool with fireworks'.
Police officers can hand out on the spot fines to anyone throwing or setting off fireworks in a street or public place or anyone under 18 found to be in possession of fireworks in public.
Angela Jones, Trading Standards Service Manager said: "Our aim is provide a safe environment in which the people of Cumbria can enjoy Bonfire Night and the period leading up to it.
"Officers from our team will be carrying out routine inspections and underage sales test purchase operations and will continue to work with partner agencies to ensure fireworks retailers act responsibly and think "safety" when storing and selling fireworks.”
Chief Superintendent Don Spiller is Cumbria Constabulary’s lead on anti-social behaviour issues in the county.
He said: “The majority of people - young and old - celebrate the bonfire season safely with family and friends. However, there are always a few individuals who cause us concern by either misusing fireworks or attempting to buy them underage.
“Disorderly behaviour traditionally rises at this time of year so we are working proactively with partners to stop trouble before it starts. In addition to laying on extra high visibility patrols, we are working closely with local retailers and licensees who are actively helping us ensure fireworks do not get into the hands of under 18s.
“Young people who are we suspect to be carrying fireworks can expect to be searched, have the fireworks seized, and then taken home to inform their parents.
“Anyone caught misusing fireworks should expect to be handed an on-the-spot fine.
“We want everyone to enjoy Halloween and Bonfire night - but not at the expense of others. Many people do not want Trick or Treaters coming to their door, and feel harassed and intimidated by this so we are asking people to respect one another’s privacy.”
If you are concerned about young people in your area being sold fireworks illegally please contact Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer helpline on 08454 04 05 06