A business owner who failed to take measures to protect the public during a firework display has been ordered to pay a fine and costs totalling more than £7,000 following a joint investigation by Dorset Council Trading Standards, Food, Safety and Port Health teams.
Craig Richard Robinson (46) of Ringwood pleaded guilty at Poole Magistrates Court on 30 January of failing to take measures to prevent, limit or protect persons from fire or explosion.
Robinson organised a fireworks display at Ringwood Raceway on 6 November 2021 which was watched by up to 2,000 people.
A defective firework fell into the back of a pick-up truck containing unused fireworks. These were then ignited, causing a large explosion. Dorset Council officers noted that the fireworks should have been better protected, and although the resulting explosion did not cause any injuries, it did create a risk and fear of serious harm.
In court, the defence stated that Dorset Council had conducted a thorough and robust investigation into the incident, and the evidence shown was compelling. The prosecution was able to show widely circulated videos of the event before the sentencing, which included the fire in the van for which the defendant had pleaded guilty.
Robinson, who is the sole director of Ringwood Raceway Ltd, was fined £3,780, plus a Victims Surcharge of £190 and court costs of £3,700. This totalled £7,670, to be paid by the defendant in monthly instalments of £500.
Dorset Council safety officers have since worked closely with Robinson to improve his risk assessment following the incident, meaning last year’s firework display was able to proceed with no safety issues.
Cllr Laura Beddow, Dorset Council’s Portfolio Holder for Culture, Communities and Customer Services: “I’m very pleased with the sentencing. It’s extremely fortunate that no-one was hurt during this distressing incident, but the risk and fear of harm caused could not be ignored or taken lightly.
“The appropriate measures were not taken by the organisers to prevent uncontrolled fire and explosions, and at a public event – especially one involving fireworks – this was unforgiveable and deserving of further legal action.
“I want to thank the Dorset Council officers in our Food, Safety and Port Health, Trading Standards and Legal teams for their hard work on this case. Through their thorough and robust investigation and resulting prosecution, we’ve been able to demonstrate how seriously we take the safety of Dorset residents.”