Firework warning

BLACK market fireworks on sale in Suffolk may seem like a cheap way to celebrate Guy Fawkes' Night this year – but these bargains can be deadly.Saving money by buying rockets, bangers and other pyrotechnic treats from car boot sales, from doorstep sellers, or even down the pub, can put anyone within striking distance of the lit fuse at risk.

BLACK market fireworks on sale in Suffolk may seem like a cheap way to celebrate Guy Fawkes' Night this year - but these bargains can be deadly.

Saving money by buying rockets, bangers and other pyrotechnic treats from car boot sales, from doorstep sellers, or even down the pub, can put anyone within striking distance of the lit fuse at risk.

According to the British Firework Association (BFA), black market fireworks are usually untested, unproven and carry no liability insurance for compensation if anyone is injured.

Fireworks can only be sold legally from registered or licensed premises and the BFA is warning people to resist the temptation to buy from cheaper sources.

John Woodhead, BFA chairman, said: "In order to ensure that your display is as safe and enjoyable as possible, it's important that you buy your fireworks from a reputable retailer.

"Untested fireworks could mean dangerous displays which could result in injury. Please don't be tempted, buy only from the retailer who you know and can trust."

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The BFA are trying to stamp out the problem of these dangerous explosives by pressing the government for a more complete paper trail from the where they are imported to the point of sale.

The past year has seen radical changes in the laws relating to fireworks.

Anti-social behaviour measures adopted by the Government, new firework laws and a promise of more to come in 2005 is overhauling who can buy what, and when.

Regulations that came in to force on August 7 introduced a number of limited prohibitions on the importation, sale, possession and use of fireworks late at night.

It is an offence, which can result in a fine of up to £5000 and/or a prison sentence, to:

• supply unsafe fireworks - which includes retail sale,

• sell fireworks to persons apparently under the age of 18,

• supply to the general public the more powerful types of fireworks specified in the regulations,

• possess fireworks in a public place if under the age of 18, not including sparklers,

• possess a category four firework if other than a fireworks professional.

Airbombs and cheap nuisance rockets now banned.

It is illegal to let off fireworks between 11pm and 7am, except at on December 31, Diwali Night and Chinese New Year when they can be let off until 1am.

Fireworks can be lit until midnight on November 5.

Weblinks:

www.b-f-a.org

www.dti.gov.uk/fireworks

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