Firework shops to be inspected

SHOPS in Suffolk selling fireworks will be subject to a crackdown this month.Suffolk County Council's Trading Standards officers will be clamping down on the irresponsible storage and sales of fireworks across the county in preparation for huge sales of fireworks in the run-up to Guy Fawkes Night.

By Tracey Sparling

SHOPS in Suffolk selling fireworks will be subject to a crackdown this month.

Suffolk County Council's Trading Standards officers will be clamping down on the irresponsible storage and sales of fireworks across the county in preparation for huge sales of fireworks in the run-up to Guy Fawkes Night.

They will be checking for fireworks being overstocked or stored unsafely which can put both the public and shopkeepers in danger.

During their visits, they will be advising shopkeepers on the best way to store fireworks safely and how the law on explosives covers them and their business.

During the last round of inspections in autumn 2001, 16 per cent of 166 premises visited failed to comply with safety law on firework storage.

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In six cases the conditions were so bad that official written warnings were issued.

Peter Monk, member of Suffolk County Council's executive committee, said: "It is all too easy to forget that fireworks are powerful explosives and should be handled with care and caution. Officers are giving plenty of advice and warning to retailers in advance of the visits so there is no excuse for any problems found. Any breaches in safety endanger both the retailer and the public and we will take them very seriously."

Typical problems found in the past include matches, batteries and cigarette lighters stored alongside fireworks, unlocked cabinets which children could access, and fireworks were found stacked in boxes next to an electric bar fire.

Last year's inspections showed no evidence of illegal or unsafe fireworks being sold in Suffolk and no evidence of sales to under 18s.

Any business needing advice or wishing to pre-book a visit should call 01473 584368.

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A free leaflet Selling Fireworks? Remember, Remember… is available from Trading Standards on 01473 584368. Weblink: www.tradingstandards.gov.uk/suffolk/fireworks.htm

Legend has it the first fireworks were made in China in 800s by filling bamboo shoots with gunpowder. Exploding them at New Year was said to scare off evil spirits

Fireworks were introduced to Europe during the 1300s, probably by the Crusaders

Bonfire Night also coincides with the Hindu festival of lights, Diwali

The Jewish festival of Hanukkah held at the turn of the new year is well known for its firework displays

In the USA fireworks are used to celebrate the 4th July while the French use them to commemorate the storming of the Bastille on 14 July

The World Fireworks Championship is held in Canada on July 1 to celebrate Canada Day

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