Trading Standards offer warnings over illegal fireworks

West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service (WYTSS) is warning traders and members of the public to be on the lookout for potentially dangerous fireworks.

Due to their use in incidents of anti-social behaviour and associated safety concerns, bangers were banned outright in the UK in 1997, followed a few years later by bans on air bombs and restrictions on the dimensions of mini rockets. However, it now appears that unscrupulous suppliers are ignoring the ban and continuing to supply them.

Officers will be carrying out inspections over the coming weeks to ensure these fireworks are removed from sale.

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Counterfeit bangers have been found on the market in recent years which raise further concerns. The bangers are sold in packs of 10. They are generally described as being a small red tube with a short fuse on top. It is certain that these are counterfeit products and as with other counterfeit goods, the bangers are likely to have been constructed from poor quality materials and would fail to meet safety standards.

When tested, the bangers were found to contain a type of flash powder that is more powerful, and louder, than normal. Some of the bangers found were also unusual as the method to light some of them is different to the majority of legitimate fireworks sold in the UK. The inadvertent or deliberate misuse of these bangers could result in serious hand injury.

Traders are also advised to source legitimate fireworks from reputable suppliers and not to buy from the back of a van, car boot sales or from dubious internet sites.

David Lodge, Head of West Yorkshire Trading Standards said “These fireworks pose a serious danger to members of the public and we are very concerned that they are still being supplied following the ban. We would urge retailers not to supply them and for members of the public to report anyone they suspect of supplying them. Where we investigate examples of traders flouting the law, enforcement action will be taken.”

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Councillor Val Slater, Chair of the Trading Standards Committee said “Public safety is paramount. We want the bonfire period to be a time for fun and celebration. These illegal fireworks are attractive to a minority of people who want to cause anti-social behaviour and we are seeking to remove them from the market place.”

Anyone who suspects someone of selling illegal or counterfeit fireworks is asked to call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0354 04 05 06.

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