Bonfire night Photo by Joseph Chan on Unsplash

Central Bedfordshire Council’s Public Protection team along with Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service will be visiting all of the firework retailers across Central Bedfordshire to ensure that the public aren’t being sold dangerous fireworks.

Officers will be inspecting retailers’ premises to ensure that the fireworks are being stored safely and securely, away from possible sources of ignition and damp.

A number of other checks will be carried out to ensure retailers are behaving responsibly and complying with the law, including checks to confirm that the retailer has the required licence to legally store and sell fireworks and that the fireworks conform to relevant safety standards.

Retailers will also be reminded of the age restrictions that apply to the sale of fireworks: those under the age of 18 are not allowed to buy fireworks or handle them in a public place.

Officers will be advising retailers on the harsh penalties if they do sell to those under the age of 18, including a possible criminal conviction.

Fireworks should only be purchased from reputable suppliers and the public are advised to steer well clear of buying fireworks from markets, car-boot sales or street sellers.

Fireworks bought from these sources could be defective and are unlikely to meet UK safety requirements. They could put you and your family at serious risk of injury.

For some families it’s traditional to buy fireworks and sparklers, wrap up warm together and watch them light up the sky, but unless you are buying from a reputable retailer, you may get burned in more ways than one. To ensure that your fireworks come from a trustworthy dealer, make sure that they are marked with CE.

It is an offence to cast or light any firework from a private property into a public space, such as a street or park, or to let fireworks off between the hours of 11pm and 7am, except on Bonfire Night from 7am-Midnight and on Diwali, New Year and Chinese New Year from 7am to 1am.

Because of their safety hazard, using or selling fireworks illegally can result in a £5,000 fine or imprisonment. You could also get an on-the-spot fine of £90.

Councillor Ian Dalgarno, executive member for community services, said:

“Fireworks can be great fun for all the family, but they are explosives and have the potential to be very dangerous. They need careful handling and storage at all times. Every year there are accidents caused by improper use of fireworks and carelessness.

“The safest place to enjoy fireworks is at a large public display. However, if you do buy your own, fireworks should only be purchased from reputable suppliers.

“We would advise the public never to buy fireworks from markets, car-boot sales or street sellers. Fireworks bought from these sources could be defective and are unlikely to meet UK safety requirements. They could put you and your family at serious risk of injury.”

Please follow the councils guide on how to use fireworks and have an enjoyable and safe bonfire night:

  • Only buy fireworks from a reputable dealer and ensure they CE marked
  • Do not drink alcohol if handling fireworks
  • Keep fireworks in a closed box
  • Follow the instructions on each firework
  • Light at arm’s length using a taper
  • Stand well back from a lit firework
  • Never go near a firework that has been lit and failed to go off. It could still explode
  • Never put fireworks into your pocket or throw them
  • Always supervise children/under 18’s around fireworks
  • Light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves
  • Never give sparklers to under 5’s
  • Keep pets indoors

If members of the public, have any concerns that fireworks being sold are unsafe or that they are being sold illegally they can contact trading standards, in confidence on 0300 300 8000, or email trading.standards@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk.