AS we all get ready to enjoy bonfire night, consumer campaigners have issued a timely warning to traders and members of the public in Leeds to be on the lookout for potentially dangerous fireworks.
West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service (WYTSS) said officers will be carrying out inspections over the coming weeks to make sure banned fireworks are removed from sale.
Due to their use in incidents of anti-social behaviour and associated safety concerns, bangers were banned outright in the UK in 1997, followed a few years later by bans on air bombs and restrictions on the dimensions of mini rockets.
But they say it now appears that unscrupulous suppliers are ignoring the ban and continuing to supply them.
Bosses at Trading Standards said counterfeit bangers have been found on the market in recent years which raise further concerns.
When tested, the bangers were found to contain a type of flash powder that is more powerful, and louder, than normal. Some of the bangers found were also unusual as the method to light some of them is different to the majority of legitimate fireworks sold in the UK. The inadvertent or deliberate misuse of these bangers could result in serious hand injury. The bangers are sold in packs of 10 and are generally described as being a small red tube with a short fuse on top. It is certain that these are counterfeit products and - as with other counterfeit goods - the bangers are likely to have been constructed from poor quality materials and would fail to meet safety standards.
Traders are also advised to source legitimate fireworks from reputable suppliers and not to buy from the back of a van, car boot sales or from dubious internet sites.
David Lodge, head of West Yorkshire Trading Standards, said: “These fireworks pose a serious danger to members of the public and we are very concerned that they are still being supplied following the ban. We would urge retailers not to supply them and for members of the public to report anyone they suspect of supplying them. Where we investigate examples of traders flouting the law, enforcement action will be taken.”
Coun Ros Lund, chair of the West Yorkshire Joint Services Committee, which oversees the work Trading Standards, said: “Public safety is paramount.
“We want the bonfire period to be a time for fun and celebration. These illegal fireworks are attractive to a minority of people who want to cause anti-social behaviour and we are seeking to remove them from the market place.”
Anyone suspicious of illegal fireworks should call 0354 040506.