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FIREWORKS: DON'T BREAK THE LAW
People using fireworks are reminded not to fall foul of tough laws governing their use in the run-up to this year's bonfire night.
It is now an offence to:
Under the Explosives Act 1875, it is also an offence to let off fireworks in a public place.
The new laws were introduced in time for last year's bonfire night to tackle the anti-social use of fireworks.
Supplying unsafe fireworks and fireworks to under 18s carries a maximum penalty of £5000 and/or six months in prison.
The other laws are subject to a Penalty Notice for Disorder of £80.
The police also now have powers to stop and search young people suspected of carrying fireworks.
Consumer Minister Gerry Sutcliffe said:
"If you are a parent, make sure your children aren't breaking the law."
In Merseyside, the police and fire service last year
reported a 75% reduction in call-outs to firework related incidents as a
John Woodhead, chairman of the British Fireworks
"This reduction of incidents in communities around the
country allows police forces to concentrate their resources on the small
"Responsible use of fireworks will keep accidents and anti-social behaviour to a minimum."
The 11pm curfew for letting off fireworks is extended to midnight on bonfire night.
For full details of the new laws, plus information on fireworks safety, see: www.dti.gov.uk/fireworks .
Position before Fireworks Act 2003
* members of the public are banned from possessing
'category 4' professional fireworks, the largest most powerful type of
* air bombs and mini rockets are prohibited from being supplied to the public;
* retailers have to actively check a customer's age if there is any doubt they are under 18, as is the case with cigarettes and alcohol;
* a national curfew banning the use of fireworks
between 11pm and 7am, aside from a later start on 5 November (midnight),
* a noise limit of 120 decibels for category 3 fireworks, the largest and most powerful fireworks available to the public.
Laws that came into force in January 2005
* improved controls on the import of fireworks.
The three fireworks offences for which a Penalty
Notice for Disorder can now be issued:
* possession of a category 4 firework (professional display firework) by any member of the public unless a fireworks professional; and
* use of an adult firework between the hours of 11pm and 7am (with the exception of 5 November, 31 December, Chinese New Year and Diwali).
British Fireworks Association, http://www.b-f-a.org/