Issued By
West Yorkshire Trading
Standards Service


Fireworks officially go on sale tomorrow for the Bonfire Season. Under a Voluntary Code of Practice the Fireworks Industry has agreed that fireworks should only be on general sale to the public during the 3 weeks leading up to 5 November and a few days afterwards.

Disappointingly West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service has been receiving complaints via their Consumer Helpline about fireworks being let off since the beginning of September indicating that some retailers are not keeping to the agreement.

This is against a background where the total number of people injured by fireworks went up by 40% last year when compared with the same period in 2000. The biggest increase was in the number of incidents involving 11-17 year olds, particularly boys, where there was an increase of 55% in injuries sustained. This is an age group, which Trading Standards say should not even be in possession of fireworks. Much of the misuse of fireworks in 2001 was as a result of anti social behaviour – incidents in the street were up 60% on the previous year

West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service’s aim is to get the message across to those retailers who persist in selling fireworks to those who are most likely to misuse them and are therefore at risk from accidents. Half of all the injuries happen to children under 16 years of age even though the law prohibits the sale of fireworks to anyone under 18.

Trading Standards will be working closely in partnership with the West Yorkshire Fire and Police Services in the run up to November 5. Their aim will be to clamp down on under age and illegal sales of fireworks in a combined effort to push the accident total down.

Failure to comply with the requirements of the law can result in prosecution and a fine of up to £5000 or a prison sentence of up to 6 months or both.

Martin Wood Chief Officer West Yorkshire Joint Services said, “All fireworks must comply with BS 7114 and be safe. It is illegal for anyone under 18 to be sold fireworks and that includes sparklers. It is also illegal to break open packs of fireworks and sell them individually. Last year this Service successfully prosecuted a number of offenders, which resulted in heavy fines being imposed. This year will be no exception.”

Councillor Graham Clarke, Chair of the Trading Standards Committee has said,  “ It distresses me to hear of so many needless injuries to our young people. We must stop fireworks getting into their hands. My message to them is get wise or get hurt. Fooling with fireworks is a dangerous game and you could be scarred for life.”

Any person concerned about underage or illegal sales of fireworks are asked to ring the West Yorkshire Consumer Helpline on 0113 3848848.


For further information contact:

Patricia Harter Enforcement Officer 0113 2898217

Paul Cooper Divisional Manager 0113 2898240

Graham Hebblethwaite General Media Contact 0113 2898218




Number of injuries for 4 week period October-November 2001 was 1362

In the previous year the figure was 972.This represents a 40% increase.

Age Groups of Injured Persons:


Over 20            508

16-20                169

13-15                      235

Under 13           450


Total                1362


Trading Standards Officers carry out firework test purchasing with children under the age of 18 from 19 October. This carries on until 5 November

It is illegal to supply aerial shells or similar, jumping crackers, mini-rockets, bangers and Chinese crackers.

Inspections at retailers ensure fireworks comply British Standard 7114. Any, which do not or are illegally sold are seized. WYTSS has a selection of non-compliant and illegal fireworks, which are available for a photo call.