Issued By
Durham County Council


Trading Standards to crack down on illegal sales

Trading standards, police and fire officers are joining forces in County Durham to try to prevent more firework tragedies.

All firework retailers in the County are to be visited by trading standards officers to make sure they don't break the law on storage and sales to children.

In some areas, they'll be joined by police and fire officers in an attempt to get traders to play their part in reducing firework nuisance.

But shopkeepers are warned that trading standards will crack down on them if they sell fireworks to under-18s.

Phillip Holman, the County Council's Head of Trading Standards, said: "We are committed to working with other services to ensure that fireworks are stored, sold and used responsibly in the run up to November 5.

"Most traders abide by the law but there are still some who are tempted to sell to under-18s.

"Anyone tempted to flout the law and sell to children should be aware that we use under age volunteers to make test purchases and we'll be doing this again this year.

"The total number of people treated in hospital nationally during last year's firework season was 1,017.

"Although this is a 25 per cent drop on the 2001 figure, all agencies are keen to reduce this further," he said.

Councillor Don Ross, Deputy Leader of the County Council, said: "Sadly, we have already had an horrific firework incident in the County resulting in a 14-year-old receiving a very serious eye injury.

"We need to emphasise to parents, traders and children too that fireworks are not toys - they're explosives that can seriously injure you - and we won't hesitate to crack down on those who break the law.

"We want Bonfire Night, and the run up to it, to be a fun time and to be safe - for everyone," he said.

Note to News Editors: For further information contact Peter Fleming, Assistant Head of Trading Standards on 0191 383 3584 or Chris Cooper, divisional manager, on 0191 383 4468.

Retailers can be fined up to £5,000 or face jail sentences for selling fireworks to under-18s.