UK fire and rescue services seize thousands of Illegal fireworks
Thousands of illegal fireworks have been seized following a major joint operation between Greater Manchester and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Services, the Police and Trading Standards.
The haul, thought to originate from Spain, was removed from premises in Bury New Road, Cheetham Hill, Manchester, because they were being stored inappropriately and were a danger to local people.
The fireworks, largely 'bangers', were recovered following intelligence received by Merseyside Fire and Rescue's Firework Incident Research Safety Team (FIRST).
FIRST was set up in 2004 to tackle the misuse of fireworks. The team coordinated operation to source the supply of illegal bangers that have been flooding into Merseyside. Over the past few weeks there has been an increase in reported incidents involving them.
Merseyside Watch Manager Mike Kirby, from FIRST, said: "These bangers were banned in 1997 because they are dangerous - they are small but powerful. These are particularly powerful because they contain flash powder.
"We have not seen any problems with bangers in recent years but in the last four weeks we have had reports of these bangers being used not just in Merseyside but across the country, being put through letterboxes or being thrown around."
Chairman of Greater Manchester's Fire Authority Councillor Paul Shannon said: "This is a great example of teams working across the North West to make sure dangerous and anti-social fireworks and other explosives don't hit the streets. It's great news in the lead up to Hallowe'en and Bonfire Night."
Station Manager Paul Starling, who was among the team who seized more than 7,000 fireworks, said: “The operation was successful thanks to teamwork between Greater Manchester and Merseyside Fire and Rescue services, Trading Standards and the Police.” He added: "All 'bangers' are illegal and have been since 1997. One of the reasons is that they're linked to anti-social behaviour and are extremely dangerous. This particular type of 'banger', thought to have been shipped in from Spain, is powerful and therefore can cause serious injury. It's a great result that these are no longer being sold in Manchester."
Following seizure, the firework registration for the premises has been revoked and all stock will be removed within 24 hours.
Seizures have also taken place in other parts of the country, including Carlisle and County Durham.
To see the result of the dangerous misuse of fireworks such as this check out our recent safety stunt where young people were asked to watch as a simulated explosion on a 'dummy' was carried out click here.
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