As Bonfire Night approaches, Staffordshire County Council Trading Standards is working with local businesses to make sure fireworks are being stored and sold safely.
Any business that stores or sells fireworks needs a licence. Unless they have a special all-year-round licence, these businesses are only allowed to sell fireworks between 15 October and 10 November; between 26 December and 31 December; on the first day of Chinese New Year and the three days immediately preceding it; and on the day of Diwali and the three days immediately preceding it.
Fireworks can only be sold to people over the age of 18 and it is illegal for them to be sold at a car boot sale, from a vehicle or from a private house.
The public are strongly advised never to purchase fireworks through unlicensed businesses or via social media.
John Evans, Director of Staffordshire-based Monumental Fireworks, is one retailer working closely with the local Trading Standards team to make sure the rules are followed. He said: “We’ve been selling fireworks for over three years and we’re very aware of the importance around their safe storage and sale.
“We actually sell fireworks all year round, and do have a special licence for this, whereas most retailers only sell them during the standard legal selling periods. Key for us is firstly the safe storage of the products. They do contain explosives and need to be stored in accordance with strict health and safety rules.
“Equally as important is the sale of them, so we make sure that they are not sold to under-18s and operate a Challenge 25 policy. And for those legal to purchase them, before they leave the shop, we always make sure they know how to store and use them correctly.
“We’ve always worked closely with Trading Standards and taken their advice. For us, it’s all about keeping people safe. My best advice is to always buy from a reputable retailer who will use reputable suppliers and have all the proper insurances in place.”
Victoria Wilson, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Trading Standards at Staffordshire County Council said: “We currently have over 80 sites licenced for explosives, which includes those storing and selling fireworks in Staffordshire, so it’s a big job for the team.
“All premises have a pre-inspection visit to assess the suitability of the storage conditions before a licence is granted, and Officers work closely with colleagues from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue service. Unannounced spot check visits are then carried out during the fireworks selling period to make sure businesses are following the rules.
“Keeping people safe is a priority for the team and whilst the vast majority of traders do follow the law, we do need to know about unregistered traders and those who are selling fireworks unlawfully, putting people’s safety at risk. Fireworks can be lethal and I would encourage anyone with information about unauthorised sellers to get in touch with the team.”