Issued By
West Yorkshire Trading
Standards Service


National Consumer Week begins just as a programme of intensive investigation into the sales of fireworks to under 18’s ends. West Yorkshire Trading Standards treats all age restricted products with the same level of importance and fireworks are no exception.

The autumn firework season is the busiest time of the year for the Community Safety Team in Trading Standards. In just 3 weeks the team has investigated 140 complaints ranging from underage sales, anti social behaviour and noise disturbance to sales from illegal markets. The team has carried out 136 test purchases and 210 inspections of premises retailing fireworks.

A joint venture with the Police and Fire Services in the West Yorkshire region has resulted in a very successful and high profile campaign this year. It has proved to be an excellent example of how working in partnership can help to protect those most at risk.

A scheme that was first piloted in certain trouble hit areas of Leeds and Bradford last year, has now gone county wide due to the positive results it achieved. The scheme involves officers from West Yorkshire Fire Service visiting all licensed premises and handing the retailer a letter from West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service. The retailer is then required to sign a receipted copy, it advises the retailer of the legal obligation. The signed receipt can then be produced as evidence in the commencement of any legal proceedings, should a sale take place. The scheme has generated interest from other Trading Standards departments as it has been a very successful initiative.

Joint inspections with West Yorkshire Police in targeted areas have yielded a harvest of unsafe fireworks. Bangers which were banned in 1998 have been seized, sparklers (which cause the highest number of injuries to youngsters) which did not conform to BS 7114 have been removed, and a considerable number of single fireworks which have been split from primary packs for sale have all been disposed of safely.

Councillor Graham Clarke, Chairman of West Yorkshire Joint Services said “It is very disappointing indeed, that retailers are still failing to comply with the law. The sale of underage products has obvious links with anti-social behaviour and this is something that is of great concern in a lot of communities throughout West Yorkshire. Retailers should beware, if they sell age restricted products to minors, they risk a potentially large fine”

Martin Wood, Chief Officer of West Yorkshire Joint Services added “ I hope that in the coming months, the message will be firmly received by retailers, that West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service will investigate and where necessary prosecute retailers who sell cigarettes, alcohol and fireworks to children. National Consumer Week is a great opportunity for Trading Standards departments throughout country to make the public aware of the work carried out by the officers and to spread the message to retailers that they must adhere to the law or face fines of up to £5000.”

Contact Details

Carol Hallett – General Media Contact 0113 3836 407
Pat Harter - Enforcement Officer 0113 2898 217
Helen Andrews – Education & Promotion Officer 0113 3836 433