National Campaign for Firework Safety
Our aim is to promote the safe use of fireworks
Read All About It - What's been said in the news in 2002
Part 8, October 11th to 13th
October 13 2002, Manchester News, Death of MeganReturn to Read All About It
As an animal owner and confirmed "killjoy" I thank God that Australia has a ban on the public sale of Fireworks. All of my animals are safe all year round and I pity those who live in countries where they are accessible by the general public. If a child proved themselves irresponsible with a toy, you'd take it away...do the same to fireworks.
Mrs I, Brisbane, Australia
October 12 2002, Belfast Telegraph, Police Bid to Smoke out illegal fireworks
Rogue Ulster Traders are illegally selling fireworks in the run-up to Halloween - despite stringent new laws introduced by the Northern Ireland Office.
And the NIO has been accused of playing into the hands of black marketeers through the legal clampdown, which prevents even small scale firework purchases without a £30 licence.
A number of fireworks and other illegal items were recovered by police at the Nutt's Corner market in Co Antrim last Sunday.
Paul Kelly of the Northern Ireland Fireworks Association claimed the new legislation, which was introduced on May 6, has actually "spurred the growth of illegal and dangerous untested fireworks trade".
He added; "By banning reputable shops such as Easons from selling fireworks, the new legislation has actually helped create the illegal industry within Northern Ireland, selling possibly unsafe items.
"The £30 licence required, and awkwardness of applying for it four weeks in advance, will put legitimate people off bothering and has certainly led to shops not wanting the hassle of stocking them or being left with lots afterwards."
Police in Antrim have pledged to continue cracking down on illegal firework dealers at Nutt's Corner.
A police spokesman said: "Anyone contravening the laws on fireworks will be guilty of an offence and dealt with accordingly and liable on summary caution to a fine of up to £5,000"
A spokesperson for the NIO said, "The Security Minister, Jane Kennedy, regrets having to take these measures, but the ground-swell of public opinion gathered during the seven month consultation process demonstrated just how upset people have become by the constant abuse of Fireworks.
"What should have been a source of entertainment had become a public nuisance in many areas and fireworks were also being used as a weapon against the security forces.
"The new legislation will allow families across Northern Ireland to enjoy fireworks in a controlled and safe manner and Sunday's raid at Nutt's Corner demonstrates the determination of the Government and law enforcement agencies to stamp out their illegal sale."
Halloween party-goers will still be able to purchase and enjoy sparklers and indoor fireworks. The Fireworks Association advises people to check for the BS7114 and Garden Fireworks marks on any fireworks they buy.
October 12 2002, Daily Mirror, DEADLY 'YOBS' FIREWORK' BANNED, Exclusive By Tanith Carey, Consumer Editor
ONE of Britain's most popular fireworks is being banned to cut the number of accidents caused by yobs throwing it in the street. More than three million airbombs - costing as little as 30p each - are bought in the run-up to Bonfire Night.
The firework, mostly made in China, should be planted in the ground to give off a white flash and a loud bang. In the last decade they have caused nearly 700 injuries. Last year, the number of people injured by fireworks thrown in the street rocketed by 163 to 442. Total injuries from fireworks were 1,362. The ban on airbombs is due to start next year, but some suppliers have already agreed not to stock them for this year's Guy Fawkes' Night.
Shopkeepers who flout the law will face fines of up to £5,000 and six months in prison. The last firework banned was the banger in 1997. John Woodhead of the British Fireworks Association said: "People throwing fireworks in public has created more injuries than ever."
Noel Tobin, of the National Campaign for Firework Safety, dismissed the ban as a "trade-off" between the Government and the Fireworks Industry. He is calling for a total ban on the sale of fireworks except for organised public displays.
October 12 2002, Daily Mirror, Dog dies as thugs play fetch with a firework by Paul Byrne
CRUEL thugs killed a dog by getting it to play "fetch" with a powerful firework, police said yesterday The teenagers made Megan the terrier believe it was a stick they were throwing. She chased the large display firework, picking it up just before it exploded.
The bull terrier's owner, Melanie Fallon, last night told of her six children's horrified reaction to the incident. She said: "The kids are absolutely devastated. We've had Megan eight years, since she was a pup. "I have told the kids that Megan has gone to doggie heaven. "I hope the police can get these people before a small child becomes the next victim."
Melanie said that on Wednesday night a gang of teenagers had called at her house asking if they could take her dog out to play. She refused because she knew the youths had been taunting half-English bull terrier Megan for weeks with fireworks.
But on Thursday night, Megan managed to get out of the house in Middleton, Greater Manchester and the thugs began teasing the animal again with lighted fireworks. She picked up a particularly large one.
Police chief Ian Lomax said: "Three youths were seen taunting Megan. "They were throwing fireworks at the dog and one of the youths threw a particularly large one which the animal then picked up. "We need to bear in mind that this could have been a small child and the consequences would have been horrendous."
RSPCA inspector Martyn Fletcher said: "If this is proven to be a deliberate act, it is despicable. "We deal with hundreds of incidents in relation to animals injured by fireworks, not just physically but also psychologically. "We fully support the police investigation into this incident."
October 12 2002, Daily Record, POLICE SEIZE FIREWORKS
A POLICE raid on a partly-built house where children as young as 10 have been spotting queuing has discovered a secret stash of 1200 fireworks. Worried residents called police after spotting youngsters waiting at the door of the house in Burdiehouse, Edinburgh. Officers found the fireworks hidden in the basement.
A 35-year-old Edinburgh man is expected to be reported to the procurator fiscal following the bust.
The cache of fireworks, worth £5000, ranged from rockets to firecrackers.
October 12 2002, Evening Post, MP BACKS BATTLE ON FIREWORKS BY SIMON MCGEE
A Scottish MP campaigning for tougher rules on the sale of fireworks has backed the Post's Be Safe Not Sorry campaign. Shona Robinson, MSP for North East Scotland, unveiled a Members' Bill on Wednesday calling for the licensing of all shops selling fireworks. It would allow councils to regulate the number of firework retailers, and exclude retailers who may have been convicted of selling fireworks to under-18s.
Unlike Westminster-based attempts, the Bill has attracted wide cross-party support, making it almost certain to succeed in becoming Scottish law. Ms Robinson is backing the Post's Be Safe Not Sorry campaign. She said: "I certainly support your campaign. It's very much in tune with public opinion. The newspaper is helping to push for change on this important issue."
Ms Robinson's Bill does not go as far as banning the sale of fireworks to the general public - which is what the Post is campaigning for - but it does give authorities a lot more control over them than exists at present.
The selling of fireworks in Britain is totally unlicensed and falls under an explosives act from 1875. The only requirement for shops is to register with their local council. Ms Robinson explained: "I want to make retailers apply for firework licences, so that only fit and proper persons will be able to sell fireworks. "They could decide to only have one or two doing so. And it could also allow councils to insist that shops only sell them at certain times of the year." She added: "Progress in Westminster has been slow, despite numerous attempts by individual MPs. "We've now moved ahead, but I'm keen to see Westminster getting something done for the rest of the country."
Broxtowe MP Nick Palmer welcomed Ms Robinson's Bill. "Anything that will restrict the plague of fireworks is very welcome. I also think people who organise parties with fireworks should have to apply to magistrates for a licence," he said. "The problem is slowly being addressed, but not being tackled as fast as I'd like. "We're hoping for a Bill supported by the Government in the new session, but as long as there's opposition it'll be difficult to achieve. "But I'll just keep pushing."
October 12 2002, Greenock Telegraph, Rocket prank angers mother
A SECOND angry mother has called for a ban on fireworks after a rocket was pushed through her letter box. Pauline Coulter, of Maybole Road, Port Glasgow, told how she heard a massive bang as the missile bore a hole in her inner front door as she sat reading the Greenock Telegraph. She said: "I was reading the story in the Telegraph about the girl who was hurt in the face, when a firework was pushed through the letter box. "I heard a swirling noise, and then a huge bang. At first I thought it was outside, but my son said 'Mum that sounds as if it's inside'. I told him not to be silly, but I went into the porch and the smoke was belching everywhere. "The furry bit on the letter box was burnt and the firework was just hanging from it. Whatever came off the firework bored a hole thrown the inner PVC door." Mrs Coulter (33) said that just minutes earlier her 12-year-old son Paul John had come in from school through the door. She added: "I'm definitely in favour of a ban on the sale of fireworks. If Paul John had come home a few minutes later he could have been badly hurt." Mrs Coulter reported the incident, which happened just before 4pm on Thursday, to police.
October 12 2002, Greenock Telegraph Online, Mum calls for firework ban
AN angry mum has called for a ban on fireworks after her 13-year-old daughter almost lost an eye when she was struck in the face by an exploding banger. Caroline Williams (41), from Port Glasgow, rushed her daughter Tracey to hospital after she was injured by an exploding firework while playing with friends.
Mrs Williams said: "I am angry. Fireworks should be banned for private use. They are dangerous, especially when used by children."
Tracey, a pupil at St Stephen's High in Port Glasgow, said: "The doctors said the firework would have taken my left eye out if it had hit my face half-an-inch higher up."
The schoolgirl will now be scarred for life after doctors had to put four stitches on the facial wound.
She added: "I was with about 12 friends and was sitting on a verge when another group came by.
"Somebody threw a firework, but I didn't see it. I didn't get up fast enough and it hit me. It was very sore and I put my hand over face. Somebody said it was bleeding."
Tracey's friends took her home and her shocked mother took her to casualty.
The frightened young girl agreed with her mother that fireworks should be banned.
Police said the incident happened around 7.30 on Monday night in the grounds of Holy Family Primary School in Parkhill Avenue, Port Glasgow.
They are interviewing the children who were with Tracey and are following a positive line of inquiry.
Superintendent Iain Gordon, of Greenock police, said: "This appalling incident highlights the very real danger of misusing fireworks.
"This could have been far more serious and I would urge parents and children to listen to the advice that is being given before a tragedy occurs."
A police spokesman added: "Our inquiries are continuing."
October 12 2002, icBirmingham - Victim's dad in firework ban call, By Staff Reporter, Evening Mail
The father of a Birmingham teenager recovering in hospital after a Roman Candle exploded in her face today called for a total ban on fireworks.
Sarah Morris, 16, was hit by the firework as she walked with friends to her home in Castle Bromwich on Thursday night. The student suffered serious burns to her cheek, chest and arm and despite emergency surgery at Selly Oak Hospital's burns unit, is almost certainly scarred for life.
Her angry father Jasper Morris today called for an all-out ban -or at least stricter controls - on the sale of fireworks. The call came as police revealed people were seen throwing lighted fireworks at children from two cars speeding around the area.
Police said they were unsure whether the yobs were deliberately trying to injure children or if it was a prank gone wrong. Mr Morris said: "They should stop selling fireworks to these young people or ban them. As we followed Sarah's ambulance to hospital there were fireworks going off." Det Con Curry wants to speak to witnesses who saw a black BMW and a silver car in the area around Parkfield Drive at the time of the incident on 7.40pm. Meanwhile, Edgbaston MP Gisela Stuart will next week hand a major petition to Prime Minister Tony Blair calling for tighter restrictions on the sale of fireworks.
October 12 2002, icCoventry, Council back firework petition
City council bosses are backing a petition to be presented to Prime Minister Tony Blair calling for tough laws on the setting off of fireworks. The petition has been raised by Barry Gardiner, MP for the London borough of Brent, and so far it has been signed by 200,000 people. The petition calls for all public firework displays to be carried out by licensed pyrotechnicians, restrictions on times of the year fireworks can be bought, restrictions on the times of day they can be set off and a requirement for sellers of fireworks to have a licence.
Cllr John McNicholas (Lab, Lower Stoke), Coventry City Council's cabinet member for environmental services, said: "This petition will remind the government about what is a very important issue for local communities in the UK and in essence mirrors what we have been asking for in Coventry. "Fireworks and the noise and disturbance they bring to people with pets, young children or older people has been by far the biggest issue in my postbag for the past two years. "We by no means wish to be killjoys in Coventry, but some government action is needed to help balance out the needs of everyone to enjoy but not be disturbed by fireworks. "We offer our full support to this petition." The petition will be handed to Mr Blair next week. Coventry City Council members are considering bringing in a bylaw to stop people letting off fireworks after 11pm.
October 12 2002, icLanarkshire, Fireworks misery for Shotts area
Fireworks in Shotts are already causing distress to many residents and there are still five weeks to go to Guy Fawkes day. For the past four weeks bangers, rocket whistles, and bright lights have disturbed the community at all hours of the day and night. Last weekend bangs filled the air for more than an hour around 1am on Sunday.
There have been complaints to the police but no one is committing an offence as such, although residents feel that here is disturbance of their peace.
Mrs Grace Bryce of Nithsdale Street has been particularly upset. She has a handicapped daughter Sharon (33) who is alarmed by the sudden loud noises. Mrs Bryce said: "The noises make Sharon jump. It's really upsetting. I've phoned the police but they don't seem to be able to do anything. "I don't want to spoil people's enjoyment, I know that this is a tradition but to have bangers being set off for nearly two months before bonfire night is surely too much. I appeal to people to have consideration for others." Mrs Bryce would like to see one big community event with a bonfire and fireworks. "This would be safer for young people if it is properly organised and it would get it over and done with in one week." She is not the only resident who has been disturbed over the past few weeks.
Pet owners know the distress it can cause and are concerned about the length of time the fireworks appear to be available. Mothers report small babies being disturbed late at night and in the early hours, disrupting whole households.
The question is being asked about the supply of fireworks.
There has been a voluntary code of practice with retailers not to sell fireworks until a week before Guy Fawkes night, but not everyone will sign up to this agreement. Retailers in the Wishaw and Motherwell area still tend to follow the voluntary code. They take orders but won't deliver until a few days before the event. But people who have access to warehouse trading can collect fireworks at any time.
MP for Motherwell and Wishaw Frank Roy has been involved in a campaign for tighter control on the sale of fireworks. His petition has attracted thousands of signatures and work is taking place to collate these for presentation to Westminster. He is disappointed that the voluntary code has broken down in some areas particularly big stores who have lead the way by offering half price fireworks two months ahead of Guy Fawkes Day.
North Lanarkshire Council are also keen to find a solution and set up a Fireworks Task Group. Crawford Morgan, head of protective services, said: "North Lanarkshire Council is aware, as is every council in Scotland, of the problems relating to the use and abuse of fireworks, particularly in the period outwith the Guy Fawkes celebrations.
This is by no means an issue related to North Lanarkshire alone, it is a national problem that is being addressed at a national level through COSLA's environment, sustainability and community safety executive group.
"Earlier this year a Fireworks Task Group was established to seek changes to the framework governing the sale and use of fireworks and North Lanarkshire Council was selected as the lead authority on this Group.
"One of the main concerns that has been raised throughout the course of the review is that fireworks are widely sold and used in the period before and beyond November 5, and that there is a perception that fireworks are noisier than ever before. "The Group also looked at the Voluntary Code in relation to fireworks and has raised concerns about the potential for misinterpretation in the terms of reference used. "Obviously as it is only a voluntary code, it has no legal statute." Mr Morgan continued: "North Lanarkshire Council has been extremely proactive in promoting fireworks and this we will continue to do."
October 12 2002, icLanarkshire, A noisy nuisance
Fed-up council chiefs are calling for a crackdown on fireworks. North Lanarkshire Council is set to lead a nationwide campaign aimed at reducing the increasing problems of the noisy explosives. Coatbridge councillor Tom Maginnis is spearheading the moves and is to look at legislation aimed at clamping down on the sale and licensing of fireworks. This winter has seen a dramatic upsurge in the use of fireworks and the latest technology means they are louder and brighter than ever before. This has led to unrest among many people across the country and North Lanarkshire Council hopes some legislation can be put in place to ease fears next winter.
Councillor Maginnis said: "It used to be the case that fireworks were only around at the start of November on Guy Fawkes Night but now they are being let off from September right through until January. "They are more sophisticated than ever and the noise some of the fireworks make is incredible. "I really feel for senior citizens and people with animals."
At North Lanarkshire Council's planning committee last week, members highlighted the concern over the use of fireworks. Through Councillor Maginnis, these concerns were passed on to COSLA which has now asked the council to lead a task force which will look at the fireworks regulations. Councillor Maginnis added: "We have been asked to set up a task force which will look at the sale of fireworks. "We will be looking at the licensing of premises which sell fireworks and the possibility of treating it more like a liquor licence so that we have greater control over it. "We will also be looking at legislation dealing with selling fireworks to under-age children."
At the moment, any retailer can apply to sell fireworks for the cost of a £12 licence. As long as they have suitable storage facilities, council officials are powerless to reject the application.
A Private Member's Bill is scheduled to be tabled in the House of Commons next month which, if approved, would impose greater controls over the sale of fireworks. Councillor Maginnis has been asked to look at the details of the proposed bill and whether or not it would be worth supporting.
However, late last year, the Government stated that current restrictions were adequate and this may sound the death knell for the bill, thereby making North Lanarkshire Council's campaign more important. Councillor Maginnis added: "I don't believe the current legislation is adequate, nor does the council or the planning committee. "That's why we are looking to have legislation in place soon - perhaps even within six months - which will be acceptable. However, it must be suitable legislation which can be properly policed."
October 12 2002, icLanarkshire, Don't let the yobs kill off our vital bus link
Angry bus users in Netherburn this week stepped up their campaign to have a vital service to Hamilton reinstated permanently. The protest was sparked after Whitelaws Coaches axed their No. 255 night time service as a result of attacks by young yobs.
The service - linking Netherburn, Ashgill to Hamilton - was scrapped more than a fortnight ago.
Furious passengers left stranded began a petition to get their bus back on the road in the evening.
The 255 service was halted on safety grounds at 6.40pm after yobs in Ashgill were accused of hurling stones, bricks and fireworks at buses.
Whitelaw Coaches on Monday reinstated a normal service on the 255 - but on a temporary basis.
John Ryan-Park, spokesman for Netherburn and Residents and Tenants Association, said people in the village had felt they had been left virtually abandoned.
He said: "Netherburn is remote village and the withdrawal of the service left us even more isolated.
"The bus service is to be put back on again temporarily - but they could stop it at any time.
"We need the bus at the weekend to socialise and visit families, and people also need it to visit their relatives at Wishaw General Hospital."
A bus user, who asked not to be named, added: "My job will be put in jeopardy if I can't work the late shift.
"If there is no bus in the evening, I do not have any transport to get me home at night. I have been let away early from work in order to catch the last bus into Netherburn."
Sandra Whitelaw, general manager of Whitelaw's Coaches, explained: "There has been an alarming growth of attacks using bricks, stones and airguns, which cause substantial damage to vehicles and can cause distress and injuries to drivers and passengers.
"This is a very serious situation and raises real safety issues for employees, passengers, pedestrians and other road users. These attacks could result in serious accidents.
"Buses being removed from service, either on a temporary or permanent basis due to attacks by bombarding of bricks and other materials, is unfortunately fairly common.
"Too often it is the passengers who suffer and much-needed public bus services are disrupted or withdrawn.
"We need serious, enforceable, long-term solutions and accountability for the culprits."
The coach firm boss added: "The 255 Hamilton-Netherburn service has been temporarily revised on the grounds of safety after the number and consistent bombarding of buses on evening journeys.
"Whitelaws Coaches have been in constant contact with Strathclyde Passenger Transport and local councillors regarding this service.
"We have been in contact with Larkhall Police and it has been agreed that officers will be placed in the area, on and off-board the vehicles.
"The normal service was reinstated on Monday, November 26.
"If there are any further attacks, we may be forced to reconsider this decision."
A spokesman for Strathclyde Passenger Transport Executive reiterated the warning that the service will be withdrawn again if the vandalism continues.
He said: "The good news is the bus will back on temporarily... but one more attack on the buses and the service will be stopped.
"Individuals must stop putting the drivers and passengers at risk or the community will lose their service."
Inspector Tom O'Donnell of Larkhall police office said he is probing claims a bus was pelted by stones in Ashgill.
He said: "If someone is caught throwing stone at buses they will be dealt with seriously.
"This is dangerous and can cause serious injury to the driver or passengers.
"We have assured the transport manager at Whitelaws of our full support. We will do all we can to assist them."
October 12 2002, icTeesside, Damping down a menace
People who fool with fireworks can be "shopped" via a confidential phone hotline.
From Monday, Redcar and Cleveland residents can report illegal bonfires, fireworks nuisance or people selling fireworks illegally on a dedicated freephone number - 0800 389 7223.
But the public is asked NOT to use it for reporting emergencies or matters needing police attention.
Recognising that firework mayhem can fizzle on long after November 5, the number will operate until January 14.
The hotline has been set up by the Redcar and Cleveland Community Safety Partnership in a co-ordinated fireworks strategy.
The trail-blazing strategy is the latest development in Teesside's war against firework misuse.
On Wednesday, the Gazette told how Inspector Colin White wants the public sale of fireworks banned after Stockton Police were called to more than 40 incidents last weekend.
The Redcar and Cleveland Partnership - the council, police and fire brigade - aims to crack down on soaring anti-social behaviour involving fireworks in the run up to Bonfire Night and beyond.
As previously outlined in the Gazette, a "bonfire busting" team will be despatched to gather up wood and fuel before illegal fires can be lit. Schools are being given educational packs, backed up by visits from police.
And trading standards will use test purchases and a voluntary code of conduct to ensure traders don't sell fireworks to under-16s.
The partnership is also co-funding organised displays at Kingsley Road, Grangetown; King George V Playing Fields, Guisborough; Skinningrove beach and Redcar Racecourse.
The council's lead member for community safety, Cllr Dave McLuckie, said: "Everyone acknowledges the build-up to November 5 has sadly been a period full of incidents of anti-social behaviour and the high risk of people getting injured.
"The partnership's strategy is all about education and encouraging people to enjoy this time of year.
"But underlying everything is the fact that anyone who misbehaves stands a very good chance of being prosecuted for their misdeeds."
October 12 2002, Leicester Mercury, 'HELP END FIREWORK MENACE'
Real-life spy kids are being recruited to help a campaign to root out shopkeepers who sell fireworks to youngsters. Leicester City Council is gearing up for its annual round of sting operations to trap traders who sell rockets and bangers to under-18s.
The authority's trading standards team is now looking for 15 and 16-year-olds to visit shops to flush out traders who sell to under-18s. By next week, up to 300 city shops will be selling what critics claim are effectively potentially dangerous explosives. The youngsters will be trained to begin visiting shops in the run-up to November 5. A trader found breaking the law could be taken to court, where they would face a maximum fine of £5,000. The undercover operations will be launched as the city braces itself for an explosion of complaints about the abuse of fireworks.
So far this year, a city council hotline has recorded 47 complaints of firework abuse from members of the public - most in the past few months. The authority received only two similar complaints in September and October last year. Mercury News shops across the city and county are following national guidelines by not selling fireworks until Monday. Sheila Wells, deputy manager of the shop in Halford Street, Leicester, said: "We will be asking for identification if there is any doubt about someone's age. We already do that with the lottery and with cigarettes, and fireworks are no different."
Tracy Smith, of Mowmacre Tenants' Association, backed the tough stance being adopted across the city. She said: "You hear the loud bangs around here day and night. We think it's mostly youngsters, and not related to Diwali celebrations. "Something has to be done, I've got a four-year-old child as well as three adult dogs, two puppies and a cat - they're petrified by the noise."
A spokeswoman for the city council said: "The code of practice from the Department of Trade and Industry is that shops should not sell fireworks until October 14, but there is nothing to stop them selling them all year round.
"Most shops will begin selling fireworks next week, and we will be carrying out test purchases with young people. We need to recruit 15 and 16-year-olds to do that with us. They will be interviewed and trained."
The Mercury has teamed up with Leicester City Council to run the Bang campaign, to highlight the problem.
John Knight, principal trading standards officer at the council, said: "Last year in the city, 300 premises were registered, and we'd expect to be at that level by next week. "We'd be very interested in hearing from people who know of shops which are not registered - it could mean the shopkeeper is not storing the fireworks safely, or is selling more than they are allowed."
The authority is also using noise monitoring equipment to catch people who detonate fireworks after 10pm. Young people who would like to take part in sting operations can contact the authority on 0116 252 6581.
To report firework nuisance in the city, call 0116 252 6339. People outside the city can complain to their local councils.
City stars back the Bang campaign
Football stars from Leicester City have joined the campaign to stop the misery caused by fireworks.
Leicester City Council is running the high-profile Bang campaign to cut firework nuisance in the run-up to Bonfire Night and Diwali. Players reminded people to think of their neighbours.
Midfielder Darren Eadie said: "I'm delighted to help out in this worthwhile campaign to help the people of Leicester have quieter nights in the run-up to the celebrations. "The best and safest policy to enjoy fireworks is to go to an organised display."
Skipper Matt Elliott said: "Fireworks are a great way to celebrate Diwali and Bonfire Night, but let's keep them for these special occasions."
This week, we reported a record rise in the number of complaints from fed-up residents about people setting off noisy fireworks. The increase in complaints was put down to the publicity campaign.
October 12 2002, Manchester Evening News, Ban is only way to end menace
NOVEMBER 5 may still be more than three weeks away but already the nuisance, fear and downright danger caused by the firework season is in full swing.
Only yesterday the Manchester Evening News carried. the dreadful story of how a pet dog was killed when a lighted banger exploded in its mouth.
Enough is enough; it is time for the over-the-counter sale of fireworks to the general public to be banned.
Last night readers backed calls for a ban - by a massive 98 per cent - in one of the biggest-ever responses to our Postbag Debate poll.
Some people will complain that such a change in the law will impinge upon civil liberties. But how ridiculous is it that potentially lethal explosive devices are sold as freely as newspapers and magazines with virtually no restrictions. It is already illegal for under 18's to buy fireworks, but that law is frequently breached.
Last year one child was killed and 1,362 people were injured by fireworks in a two month period. Half the incidents occurred in gardens, the other half in the street or other public places and 372 of the recorded injuries were to victims' eyes.
We believe there is an overwhelming demand for a ban. Four petitions have been presented to Parliament this year alone. By all means enjoy organised firework displays. But yobs cause enough trouble as it is; supplying them with explosives is plain lunacy.
October 12 2002, Manchester Evening News, How you voted on fireworks
We asked yesterday if you thought that the sale of fireworks to the public should be banned. An overwhelming majority of you said that they should
October 12 2002, Manchester Online, Comment from the M.E.N.
NOVEMBER 5 may still be more than three weeks away but already the nuisance, fear and downright danger caused by the firework season is in full swing. Only yesterday, the Manchester Evening News carried the dreadful story of how a pet dog was killed when a lighted banger exploded in its mouth.
Enough is enough; it is time for the over-the-counter sale of fireworks to the general public to be banned.
Last night readers backed calls for a ban - by a massive 98 per cent - in one of the biggest-ever responses to our Postbag Debate poll. Some people will complain that such a change in the law will impinge upon civil liberties. But how ridiculous is it that potentially lethal explosive devices are sold as freely as newspapers and magazines with virtually no restrictions. It is already illegal for under 18s to buy fireworks, but that law is frequently breached.
Last year, one child was killed and 1,362 people were injured by fireworks in a two-month period. Half the incidents occurred in gardens, the other half in the street or other public places and 372 of the recorded injuries were to victims' eyes. We believe there is an overwhelming demand for a ban. Four petitions have been presented to Parliament this year alone. By all means enjoy organised firework displays. But yobs cause enough trouble as it is; supplying them with explosives is plain lunacy.
October 12 2002, Manchester Online, Beating Bonfire Night tragedy
A CAMPAIGN is being launched urging everyone to "Stay Safe" on Bonfire Night. The exploding firework that killed a dog in Middleton on Thursday night underlined the dangers posed by Bonfire Night celebrations.
Last week, a 19-year-old man from Wigan suffered severe burns when a firework exploded in his face while he smoked a cigarette.
Last year, 1,362 people were injured by fireworks in Britain - a 40 per cent increase on the previous year.
Last year also saw a 60 per cent increase in people being injured by fireworks in the street.
The Manchester Evening News and Manchester Online believe that such statistics should not be tolerated and that people should not have to risk serious injury or death from others acting irresponsibly with fireworks. There is also the constant problem of people having to endure weeks of late-night noisy explosions caused by youths playing with fireworks.
For that reason we are urging everybody not to hold their own Bonfire Night events. There are plenty of safe, well-organised bonfires and firework displays being held across Greater Manchester so there is no need to risk injury celebrating November 5.
The city council, in association with the M.E.N. and the fire service, is running free fireworks displays and fairgrounds at the times and places listed at the end of this article.
Organised Bonfire Night events are the safest and often the cheapest way of commemorating Guy Fawkes Night.
County Fire Officer Barry Dixon said: "Each year, thousands of people are injured by fireworks. Fireworks should only be used in a controlled environment at public displays. My advice is to attend an organised bonfire."
October 12 2002, This Is Bradford , Fireworks thrown in attacks
Pub-goers in Heaton have been attacked with fireworks in a spate of incidents around the village.
Two pubs and a restaurant reported incidents where fireworks were thrown at customers.
Nobody was injured in the attacks but residents fear repeats in the run-up to Bonfire Night. And at one pub the landlord claims a bench was pushed against the door after the firework was thrown.
Richard Beeley, who runs the Fountain Inn on Heaton Road, said: "It was about 8.30pm on Sunday, the bar was quite busy, people were just having a drink when the door opened and a firework was thrown in. It was a gang of about eight lads aged between 14 and 18. There is a bench outside which they put across the doors to stop us chasing them.
"Then on Monday night it happened again."
On Sunday night the King's Arms and Clark's, both on Highgate, had fireworks thrown in. Geoff Bennett, manager at the King's Arms, said a very loud banger had been thrown in. "The bar was busy at the time but nobody was hurt, it was more of a shock at the noise."
At Clark's restaurant owner Brian Clark said the incident was one of high jinks.
"It is that time of year. Of course I would prefer if these things did not happen but no-one was hurt, thankfully."
Councillor Stanley King (Con, Heaton) has issued letters to local businesses warning them about the gang.
Heaton resident Elizabeth Hellmich, neighbourhood watch co-ordinator who has campaigned for tighter laws on fireworks, said: "I am shocked but I am not really surprised. As far as the attacks go, it is very sad for the whole village."
A police spokesman said: "We received a call at 8.24pm on October 6 saying fireworks had been thrown into the Fountain Inn. There were no reports of injuries or damage. There was also a call made at 7.36pm from a restaurant which had a firework thrown in.
October 12 2002, This is Gloucestershire, Keith makes noise over firework calls
Anti-noise campaigner Keith Barnfield has welcomed new calls to stop fireworks causing fear and nuisance.
Sale ban would be sound
The National Campaign for Firework Safety wants new laws to make bangers and rockets less freely available.
New surveys from the pressure group, showing how widely fireworks are available and the annoyance they can cause, are being sent to the Government backing their case.
Mr Barnfield, from Hatherley, Cheltenham, is sick of explosions around town and has repeatedly called for licensing of fireworks.
He is pleased the NCFS is stepping up the pressure.
He said: "Fireworks should only be available to the organisers of licensed events.
"That would control the noise and safety. A compromise on the noise situation would be that fireworks sold over the counter should be virtually silent."
His concerns over fireworks stem from the effect they have on his border collie Phoebe, who is scared to leave the house after dark.
Mr Barnfield, 57, said: "There is the danger of fireworks being misused.
"The kids go around letting them off at night.
"It has got to the point where so many people are concerned that it has to be dealt with.
"The Government is dragging its heels."
The two surveys from NCFS are being published on Monday.
The organisation, founded in November 1969 in response to the number of firework injuries to people and pets, compiled details of all firework-related noise complaints and incidents reported in newspapers.
It also looked into the promotion of extra loud fireworks on the internet.
They commissioned the research after getting a record number of complaints last year.
They have sent both surveys to the government to urge them to bring in legislation permitting only licensed displays, banning shop sales so only professionals can buy them and implementing a national training scheme for display operators.
Peter Wilson, northern regional organiser for the NCFS who conducted the project, said: "In the past three or four years complaints about noise have been increasing.
"Some fireworks are even advertised as great because they can be heard five miles away.
"It's time we tidied it all up and fireworks were made just for the professionals.
"We recognise people want to see fireworks but they don't want people deciding to let them off at two or three in the morning.
"The government's dragged its feet but we hope they'll take this on board."
October 12 2002, This is Lancashire, Firework pushed through letterbox
A MOTHER and her three children were lucky not to been injured after an arsonist pushed a burning firework through their letterbox last night.
They were awakened by the noise and ran downstairs to find the burning candle in the smoke-filled hallway of their home in Darley Terrace, Halliwell.
Arsonists also threw a brick and two bangers through a window in Clay Street, Eagley, during the night. The homeowner, a man in his 20s, was asleep upstairs and awoke to find the fireworks on his living room floor.
Youths also smashed a car window in Owlwood Drive, Little Hulton, and placed a firework on the back seat.
October 12 2002, This is Nottingham, MP BACKS BATTLE ON FIREWORKS
A Scottish MP campaigning for tougher rules on the sale of fireworks has backed the Post's Be Safe Not Sorry campaign.
Shona Robison, MSP for North East Scotland, unveiled a Members' Bill on Wednesday calling for the licensing of all shops selling fireworks. It would allow councils to regulate the number of firework retailers, and exclude retailers who may have been convicted of selling fireworks to under-18s. Unlike Westminster-based attempts, the Bill has attracted wide cross-party support, making it almost certain to succeed in becoming Scottish law.
Ms Robison is backing the Post's Be Safe Not Sorry campaign. She said: "I certainly support your campaign. It's very much in tune with public opinion. The newspaper is helping to push for change on this important issue." Ms Robison's Bill does not go as far as banning the sale of fireworks to the general public - which is what the Post is campaigning for - but it does give authorities a lot more control over them than exists at present. The selling of fireworks in Britain is totally unlicensed and falls under an explosives act from 1875. The only requirement for shops is to register with their local council. Ms Robison explained: "I want to make retailers apply for firework licences, so that only fit and proper persons will be able to sell fireworks. "They could decide to only have one or two doing so. And it could also allow councils to insist that shops only sell them at certain times of the year." She added: "Progress in Westminster has been slow, despite numerous attempts by individual MPs. "We've now moved ahead, but I'm keen to see Westminster getting something done for the rest of the country."
Broxtowe MP Nick Palmer welcomed Ms Robison's Bill. "Anything that will restrict the plague of fireworks is very welcome. I also think people who organise parties with fireworks should have to apply to magistrates for a licence," he said. "The problem is slowly being addressed, but not being tackled as fast as I'd like. "We're hoping for a Bill supported by the Government in the new session, but as long as there's opposition it'll be difficult to achieve. "But I'll just keep pushing."
October 11 2002, BBC News, Dog killed by exploding firework
The dog could have picked up the unexploded firework
A dog has been killed after a firework exploded in a street in Greater Manchester.
Police believe the incident in Rochdale happened when a gang of youths started throwing the fireworks.
On Friday it was not clear whether the firework had been thrown directly at the dog, or it had picked one up in its mouth before it exploded. Police warned that unless steps were taken to protect pets there will be more incidents before this year's bonfire night celebrations.
Inspector Peter Jones, of Greater Manchester Police, told BBC GMR it was a "stark warning".
"Even the smallest of fireworks can cause a nasty injury, and particularly they should be kept well away from animals," he said. "Most people keep their animals indoors in the lead up to bonfire night, but there are still dogs and cats out on the street. "This incident demonstrates how dangerous fireworks can be."
October 11 2002, BBC News 24 Hours Text, Sparks fly over the sale of fireworks
The sale of fireworks should be governed by a licensing scheme, according to a Scottish Parliament Members Bill published today at the Scottish Parliament.
The MSP, Shona Robison, wants to restrict the sale of fireworks by banning "unfit" retailers from the pyrotechnics trade.
The number of people injured by fireworks rose by more than a third last year, with under 16 most at risk.
October 11 2002, BBC North West, Firework Safety Campaign to be launched.
A Campaign to cut the number of firework-related incidents will be launched this morning, in the run up to Bonfire Night.
Police, Firefighters and Trading Standards Officers in Merseyside are joining forces to create the "Good Guy" scheme.
The Campaign asks retailers to restrict the sale of fireworks to a two week period leading up to November 5.
Anyone selling fireworks illegally will faced with fines up to £5000.
October 11 2002, Burton Mail - MP joins fight on fireworks, by CHRIS WATSON
BURTON MP Janet Dean has said her constituents should not have to "live in fear" of fireworks as Bonfire Night approaches. Mrs Dean has pledged her support to a nationwide petition to introduce controls on the sale and use of fireworks.
The 200,000-name petition, organised by Labour MP for Brent North Barry Gardiner, is to be delivered to Downing Street on October 16. The document has been signed by 40 MPs from constituencies where it has been circulated. Although the petition has not reached Burton, Mrs Dean is to write to Tony Blair in support of the campaign to bring changes in the law. Mrs Dean said: "I am fully supportive of more action being taken because I know people are having problems year after year. "I don't want to stop people having fun but people should not have to live in fear during the weeks leading up to Bonfire Night."
Mrs Dean said she was set to join a new all-party parliamentary group that was being formed to deal with the issue of fireworks. Mr Gardiner wants to raise the age at which people can buy fireworks to 21, give Trading Standards new powers to stop traders from selling them to underage children, and introduce a licensing system for organised displays. It is also proposed that restrictions should be imposed on the times and days they can be set off and sold.
East Staffordshire borough councillor and Liberal Democrat leader Sue Marbrow put forward a similar motion earlier this year. As a result of the motion, the borough council agreed to write to the Government requesting the power to grant firework licences on an annual basis. Councillor Marbrow said: "Fireworks are a much bigger problem than the Government thinks. A lot of people are dreading Bonfire Night and something has to be done about it." She teamed up with fellow Uxbridge councillor Ali Chaudhry after fireworks chaos hit the streets of their Uxbridge ward last year, leading the several arrests. More than 100 residents attended an emergency meeting leading up to Bonfire Night amid claims that fireworks had been thrown at people in the streets and shoved through letter boxes.
October 11 2002, Evening Chronicle, Flouting the law on sales
How is it that in spite of a law banning shops from selling fireworks to underage children it is still happening.
So many of the law makers remember how easy it was when they were young to get an older person to buy fireworks for them and believe me nothing has changed. I have seen horrendous burn damage that people and animals have suffered.
How long has this to go on?
May I suggest there should be a central 'arsenal' where all fireworks are kept and sold for specific purposes.
Has something major got to happen before some responsible people take a stand to protect the innocent from the acts of the irresponsible. M. L. Newcastle.
October 11 2002, Evening Chronicle, Vent Your Spleen
Fireworks should not be sold before November 1. I'm fed up with kids throwing fireworks, putting them through people's letterboxes and terrorising the elderly and animals. Why doesn't the Government bring in new legislation and ban completely the sale of fireworks before November 1. We have this problem year after year and nothing is ever done.
October 11 2002, Evening Chronicle, Vent Your Spleen
The Great North Run on Sunday morning meant an early night on Saturday night for the whole family. Then at 11 o'clock at night fireworks exploding woke the whole family - kids, pets, runners and all the supporters in our house were wide awake. So much for an early night. I'm sure the firework folk fully enjoyed their fun but didn't give the rest of us a thought.,
October 11 2002, icBirmingham - Firework girl's agony By Phil Banner, Evening Mail
A teenage girl suffered horrific burns to her face and chest when a thug threw a lighted firework at her outside a pub. Sarah Morris, aged 16, is likely to be scarred for life after last night's mindless attack just yards from her home in Parkfield Drive, Castle Bromwich.
Sarah was believed to be on her way to a Spar store at 7.30pm when a hooligan, who had been drinking in the Spitfire pub next door, targeted her in the street. He lit a large firework, threw it at the unsuspecting teenager and it exploded in her face. Sarah reeled back with 18 per cent burns to her left cheek and breast and the attacker fled.
An ambulance crew called to the scene gave emergency first aid and Sarah was taken to the burns unit at Selly Oak Hospital where she was detained.
A hospital spokeswoman said today she was "comfortable" after being treated overnight. Sub Fire Officer Dave Edge, who attended the incident, said: "It was an horrific attack and the poor girl had very nasty facial burns and will probably be scarred for life. "When I arrived she was lying down in the back of the ambulance and was very distressed and shocked. "Her mother and father were with her trying to comfort her." He added: "I saw the firework - it was pretty large, like a Roman Candle. Luckily, I don't think her sight will be affected."
Sarah's father Jasper arrived at the scene minutes after being called by a friend. "Her face, her chest and arm was covered in blood. She was in a lot of pain," he said. Sub Fire officer Edge, from Bickenhill station, said he had made extensive inquiries to find out who the attacker was and police have launched a hunt for the thug. He said: "I asked lots of people in the street but all I was told was that it was someone who came out of the pub who threw the firework at Sarah."
October 11 2002, icWales, Warning over fireworks storage danger
TRADING standards officers in Swansea have expressed concern after finding several instances of fireworks being stored in dangerous conditions.
The fireworks have been found stored in people's homes.
There are strict rules governing the conditions under which fireworks can be stored.
A Swansea City and County Council spokesman said, "The rules are aimed at ensuring the fireworks are safe and do not present a hazard to members of the public.
"The quantities which have been found stored makes it plain they are not for the use of a personal domestic display.
"In the run up to November 5 people are warned to be careful when buying fireworks from anyone other than a regular retailer.
"It is illegal to sell fireworks around pubs and clubs or from the boot of a car.
"The safety of fireworks bought from any unconventional situation should be viewed with extreme caution."
October 11 2002, Inverness Courier, Firework safety campaign gets under way
A CAMPAIGN to reduce injuries and curb the nuisance caused by fireworks and bonfires was this week launched by Northern Constabulary and Highland Council.
They will join forces between 21st October and 10th November as part of the Safer Scotland Campaign.
All registered firework retailers in the region will be visited by police and the council's trading standards officers to reinforce their legal responsibilities and encourage them to give advice to customers before they buy fireworks.
Police officers will also carry out targeted patrolling and any offences will be reported to the procurator fiscal.
Inspector Andy Cowie of the Community Safety Unit said the possibility of industrial action by the Fire Brigade's Union made this year's message even more important.
"If the union votes to strike it will mean the fire brigade will be out during the time of this campaign," he stated. "If this happens, the operation will be carefully co-ordinated between the police and the army, who will be carrying out fire duties if necessary.
"To reduce the problems associated with the use of fireworks, I would urge people to attend organised events which are properly planned and supervised.
"Parents are asked to be particularly vigilant in regard to their children's activities at all times and ensure, as far as possible, that they are not permitted to obtain or use fireworks unless under supervision."
Councillor David Munro, the council's spokesman for consumer protection, called for the laws on the sale of fireworks to be tightened.
"We know that many incidents happen in the street and a significant number of people injured are well below the legal age limit for being supplied with fireworks," he commented.
"The council is working with the Scottish Executive and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities to recommend changes which will restrict the period within which fireworks can be advertised and sold and more effectively vet the sale of fireworks."
October 11 2002, Manchester News, Death of Megan
Reading stories such as this breaks my heart. What kind of sick person can do this to a defenceless animal? These are the type of teenagers who go on to assault and murder in the future. It is becoming so depressing to realise that children are being dragged up with absolutely no moral guidance. You may read this thinking these are the thoughts of a pensioner, complaining about the 'youth of today', but I am 26 years old and many of my friends share the same opinion. Let's hope the next generation learns from the child-rearing mistakes of the previous one.
A, High Peak
October 11 2002, Manchester News, Death of Megan
This is absolutely heartbreaking, children are usually brought up to love animals. The fact that any one can harm a poor defenceless animal is appalling, but when it's children doing the harming it's sickening. I really feel for the owners, when you have a pet, it really does become a part of the family, and to them a family member has been killed.
October 11 2002, Manchester News, Death of Megan
Yes, ban them. The only people who make any profit on these dreadful things are indiscriminate shop-owners, who couldn't care less who they sell them to. Thousands of people are burned and injured (or just plain terrified) by them. Animals are frightened to death by them and the emergency services are needlessly stretched to breaking point at this time of year, answering the cries of the foolish. They're a complete waste of time and money. If people are that desperate to stand around in the cold, oohing and aahing at mediocre displays, then they should attend council-ran, fire service approved displays, and the general wholesale of these things should be outlawed.
P. E. Chorlton, Manchester
October 11 2002, Manchester News, Death of Megan
I live near a playing field which is close to a school. At around 3:30pm - 7pm, fireworks go off. Children leave the school at the end of the day and waste their time playing with fireworks while at the same time terrorising the public who usually take their pets on the park or children to the playground. Fireworks should be banned and only allowed to be viewed each year under the control of trained professionals. Why should people fear for their safety every Oct-Nov?
C, Sale, Manchester
October 11 2002, Manchester News, Death of Megan
Perhaps it might help if fireworks are only available from supermarkets and town centre shops and not widely available from newsagents and corner shops. Supermarkets are generally good at sticking to the voluntary sales periods and are good at refusing sales to underage. Town centre shops are also good at sticking to voluntary selling periods and preventing underage sales - and they don't trade for long hours unlike newsagents and corner shops selling fireworks all day long.
A. P, Accrington
October 11 2002, Manchester News, Death of Megan
I was absolutely appalled to hear the news about the horrific incident involving the pet dog killed by a firework. I cannot believe that anyone would deliberately do such an evil thing and these thugs must be caught and punished. What else are they capable of? What sort of community do we live in when 'children' are able to buy such potentially dangerous objects freely? We wouldn't allow them to walk the streets carrying guns and knives so why fireworks? Fireworks are being let off in public places at all times of the day and night and this started as early as September this year. The local park where I exercise my dog is frequently being used to let off fireworks. They terrify pets, elderly people and children. The law must change; fireworks must be restricted to arranged displays. We don't have to wait until a child loses its life; let's not allow any other innocent animals to lose their lives- it is just as sickening. My deepest sympathy goes out to the family who lost their pet, my thoughts are with them and this horrific incident will remain in my memory forever.
H. G, Heywood, Lancashire
October 11 2002, Manchester News, Death of Megan
Yes fireworks should be banned and only people who organise displays should be able to sell them. The dog we used to have was petrified and had to be sedated by tablet every night for about four - five weeks. Luckily the dog I have now doesn't mind them. I also have three cats that won't go out at night now because of fireworks being let off. They are also being sold to underage people which is bad.
C. S, Ashton-under-Lyne
October 11 2002, Manchester Online, Dog is killed by firework thugs
Cruel thugs killed a dog with a firework.
The taunting teenagers made the terrier believe it was a stick they were throwing. The family pet chased the large display firework and picked it up before it exploded in her mouth.
Today as police hunted the thugs, it was revealed they had been taunting the dog, called Megan, for weeks with fireworks.
The bull terrier was the pet of six children who went to school today devastated by her death.
Their mum, Melanie Fallon, said: "The kids are absolutely devastated. We've had Megan eight years, since she was a pup. I have told the kids that Megan has gone to doggie heaven.
"I just hope the police can get these people before a small child becomes the next victim.''
Melanie said that on Wednesday night a gang of teenagers had called at her house asking if they could take her dog Megan out to play. She refused because she knew the youths had been taunting half-English bull terrier Megan for weeks with fireworks.
But on Thursday night eight-year-old Megan managed to get out of the house and the thugs began teasing the animal again with lighted fireworks. She picked up a particularly large one.
Police Chief Inspector Ian Lomax said: "Three youths were seen taunting Megan. They were throwing fireworks at the dog and one of the youths threw a particularly large one which the animal then picked up and it exploded.
"The youths then ran off. One is described as white, about 15, 5ft 6in, of slight build with fair eyebrows and a pale complexion. He was wearing a black and grey baseball cap and black tracksuit bottoms. We need to bear in mind that this could have been a small child and the consequences would have been horrendous.''
On Monday, the National Campaign for Firework Safety will reveal the results of a survey which say: "Fireworks are now out of control all over the UK and at all times of the year".
Two dogs and a lamb died as a direct result of firework attacks during the year and there were even attacks on church halls and an old folk's home. Officially, fireworks were supposed to be on sale only from October 15 to November 8, but only the months of March, April and June had no reports of firework attacks.
There were 95 incidents of fireworks being used as a weapon and the victims included three cats and six dogs, including a guide dog, two horses and a lamb. And there was one case of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier so afraid of the noise of fireworks that it seriously injured itself in terror.
Consumer Minister Melanie Johnson announced last March that the fireworks industry had agreed only to sell fireworks for three weeks before November 5. The campaign said: "We hope that this is the last year when we have fireworks all year and all the menace that goes with it."
But today, northern organiser Peter Wilson, was shocked by the death of the dog in Middleton. "I am absolutely appalled. They call us killjoys - but they should just sit with the poor owner of this dog for 10 minutes."
He said the voluntary code agreed by the industry not to sell fireworks until after October 15 was unenforceable and should be replaced by a complete ban on retail sales so they could only be bought by organisers of public displays.
RSPCA inspector Martyn Fletcher said: "If this is proven to be a deliberate act then it is completely despicable. Every year the RSPCA deals with hundreds of incidents in relation to animals injured by fireworks, not just physically but also psychologically.
"We fully support the police investigation into this disturbing incident and would urge anyone with information to come forward immediately.''
Anyone with information should contact police in Middleton on (0161) 856 8746 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
October 11 2002, Scotland Today, Danger firework haul seized
Trading standards officers have seized more than 1,000 fireworks which were being stored in conditions which could have led to a major explosion. They discovered the haul in the Burdiehouse area of Edinburgh after receiving complaints from local residents.
Chief police officers say it proves that fireworks legislation must be tightened up, but not everyone agrees that that would solve the problem.
Trading standards inspectors were horrified to find 1200 fireworks being stored in unsafe conditions in a residential area. They discovered them after receiving complaints from neighbours that children had been setting them off nearby. The building where they were kept was not registered.
Something as simple as a mobile phone ringing can be enough to cause a firework to go off. They are supposed to be stored in metal containers. These were not and trading standards officers say they could have exploded at any time.
Councillor Brian Fallon from Consumer Services, Edinburgh Council, said: "Possibility of explosion, possibility of fire. That's why they should be stored in a proper registered area in a registered building. "
Although it was not done in this case, anyone can apply for registration to sell fireworks - it costs just £13 and is valid for a year. Police chiefs describe the system as a recipe for wide scale abuse. They want tougher regulations on storage and sale, and believe today's example proves their point.
Chief Inspector Bob Farmer from the Association of Chief Police Officers said: "If we can regulate and license to ensure as far as possible that only people who are trained and licensed by trading standards hold and supply them then hopefully this will go a long way to excluding this."
However not everyone is convinced that tighter legislation would make a difference. Patrick Browne, the director of the Scottish Retail Consortium said: "We don't believe that people who break the law at the moment would actually change their activities simply because regulations have been tightened up."
A report on the seizure in Edinburgh is being sent to the Procurator Fiscal. Council officials say anyone caught flouting the existing rules in the run-up to November the fifth can expect the same treatment.
October 11 2002, Teletext North East News, Youth threw rockets at takeaway.
A teenager put lives at risk by throwing fireworks in to two County Durham takeaways, police have said.
A young masked skateboarder threw a large rocket into a Pizza Parlour in Wheatley Hill which exploded causing extensive damage to the ceiling.
A short time later, a firework was thrown into a Chinese takeaway. Police said it was lucky no-one was hurt.
October 11 2002, This Is Bradford, Families left traumatised by mysterious explosions
A BURLEY Woodhead family has been left traumatised after a massive explosion at the front of their home shattered windows and caused a wooden porch to collapse. And fire investigation officers are still analysing material found at the scene to see what caused the blast.
At first they thought it might have been a bomb, but a spate of similar incidents suggest that large fireworks could be involved.
The family asked Wharfedale Newspapers not to reveal their names and exact address but told us that the explosion happened at around 10.45pm last Thursday night. As they ran to their front door to discover the cause, they said the front of the house was covered in smoke and there was a strong smell of gunpowder.
They said they had no idea why their home had been targeted in what they thought was a completely random attack. But they feared for one of their children whose bedroom windows were shattered by the blast.
"As far as I am concerned it was attempted murder," said the owner.
The family of two adults and two children were not the only ones to be shaken by the blast.
A neighbour, who also did not want to be identified, said: "Something very strange has gone on. There was a most enormous explosion. There were two fire engines and it looked like a bomb had been thrown at the house.
"It is pretty frightening for the people who live here. It sounded like they were quarry blasting."
She said she had heard reports of similar incidents in other parts of Wharfedale and Aireborough where massive fireworks, similar to those used for large public displays, had been let off in residential areas.
Assistant Divisional Fire Officer Keith Robinson, said the incident was still being investigated.
"We sent what appeared to be firework remains for analysis and we are still awaiting the results of that investigation.
"This has caused quite extensive damage to the front of the building. If it was a firework it would have to be such a large firework. There were four people in the property at the time."
Sergeant Esther Hobbs, of Ilkley police, said that officers investigated reports of another explosion in Menston at the same time.
This time no damage was caused but people reported hearing the sound of a large firework being let off. Officers later found what could have been the remains of a firework in Moor Lane, leading to the road which passes through Burley Woodhead.
On the same night, a telephone box in Main Street, Hawksworth, was extensively damaged by what is thought to have been a firework. The windows were all broken and the metal frame was damaged by the force of the blast.
In a similar incident in Guiseley, an 89-year-old woman was shocked but not otherwise injured when a firework was pushed through her letter box on Monday evening. The explosion caused a small amount of burn damage to a carpet.
October 11 2002, This Is Bradford , Fireball attack on woman, aged 89
An 89-year-old Guiseley woman was terrified when a huge firework caused a fireball in her home.
Marie Beard, who lives on her own in Tennyson Street, was woken by a huge blast on Monday night at 11.30pm.
When she made her way to the front door she realised that the firework had been pushed through her letterbox.
Police believe that the device was home-made and are worried because of the strength of the explosive, which shook windows in the block of flats.
Mrs Beard said: "The lined curtain behind my front door is the only thing that saved the firework from coming into my living room.
"The bang was so loud and strong that it knocked things from my bathroom shelves and I was very scared.
"My neighbours were lovely, they look out for me and they helped me get out of the house because I was in such a shock I couldn't open the door and there was a big ball of fire."
A neighbour helped Mrs Beard out of the house and recovered the firework from the hall.
Youths were seen running away from the area.
Neighbourhood Watch Liaison Officer at Weetwood Police, Peter Krushniak said police officers are keen to catch the people who planted the explosive: "It is particularly awful because of the age of this woman, and we are worried about the type of firework used because it seems to have been very strong.
"We are very keen to find out any information at all about this crime and anyone who knows anything at all that could help us can contact Weetwood Police, or call me personally and confidentially."
Mrs Beard, who has a son living in the north east of England and a daughter living in London, has had smoke alarms fitted by the fire brigade and a metal post box fitted to her door by police to ensure that the same thing cannot happen again.
Mrs Beard said: "I want people to be aware that things like this can happen."
Leading Firefighter Barry Whitaker of Green Watch at Rawdon, said that this time of year can herald misuse of fireworks. He said: "It is obviously important to have smoke alarms and if an incident like this is a worry it is an idea to have a smoke alarm over the front door."
October 11 2002, This is Lancashire, Firework sets mail alight
A FIREWORK was pushed into a post box setting dozens of letters alight.
Firefighters were called to Ashworth Lane, Astley Bridge, at 6.30pm yesterday. A Post Office spokesman said: "Setting fire to post boxes is a stupid thing to do. It can have a knock-on effect on many people's lives like bill payments don't arrive or when birthday cards are not sent."
October 11 2002, This is Local London, Council Tackle Firework Noise
BRENT Council is taking action to tackle the nuisance of noisy fireworks.
In the run-up to the Hindu festival of Diwali, on November 4, and Guy Fawkes's Night the following day, it launched a poster campaign on Tuesday to persuade revellers to be more considerate to their neighbours, under the slogan "Fireworks with a bang, but not too late or loud".
The council's environmental health unit receives many complaints, particularly from pet owners and the elderly, about the noise caused by some fireworks but is virtually powerless to take action against offenders as there is no law covering firework noise.
The unit has issued a code of practice to encourage responsible firework use. This includes not lighting fireworks after 11pm; having display as far as possible from neighbouring premises; warning neighbours in advance; keeping pets indoors, and keeping firework displays as short as possible.
Councillor Ian Bellia, the council's environment spokesman, said: "Numerous accidents involving fireworks are reported each year, but the problems with fireworks don't just stop with injuries. Both people and pets find the noise annoying and distressing. This problem is heightened by the fact that fireworks are not only let off on Diwali and Guy Fawkes's Night, but for at least a week either side, and often at new year as well.
"We want people to enjoy the celebrations, but at the same time consider their neighbours. By sticking to the council's code of practice it is easy to hold a firework display which is safe and does not cause a nuisance to the whole neighbourhood."
October 11 2002, This is Nottingham, NOT EVERYONE IS CRITICAL OF THIS PLANNING DECISION
Why people don't vote. So our politicians cannot understand just why the people of this country no longer want to vote at elections! The decent, law-abiding citizens of this country do not want fireworks used except for November 5, apart from special occasions, and want fireworks being used in the streets to be made illegal.
What has been done? Nothing!
These people do not want to live in fear, to be terrorised in their own homes and streets by gangs of yobs, mugged, burgled, their transport stolen and burnt out; they do not want to be injured or even murdered while going about their business.
What has been done? Nothing!
These people do not want to struggle to try and find this extortionate demand for money with menaces, called the 'Council Tax'.
What has been done? Nothing!
These people are sick and tired of working all their lives for pathetic wages.
What has been done? Nothing!
These people also want the proceeds of the National Lottery to be spent on health, research and hospitals - not operas, art and obscure projects.
Many of the "I'm alright Jacks" of Parliament are as much use as a chocolate teapot.
F. F. Gedling
October 11 2002, This is Somerset, FIREWORKS IN SAFETY CHECK
Bath and North East Somerset Council is launching a scheme to protect people at firework displays this year.
Event organisers are being asked to register their display with the council who will then carry out a series of safety checks on the plans.
If the site and event plans meet the health and safety teams approval, the event will be registered and a certificate will be issued to the organisers.
"The safety of the public is paramount, " explained Steve Hedges, "We want people to have fun and enjoy the displays, but we do not want people getting hurt." "Registered events will be given a safety check so people can enjoy the fireworks, confident that all precautions and safeguards are in place." Karrina Duffy, environmental health officer at B & NES, said: "Organisers of fireworks displays should start planning now to ensure they have a safe event. They should register their display as early as possible with us." Last year 1,362 people were treated for firework injuries at hospital accident and emergency departments in Great Britain during the autumn firework season.
For an information pack or to register your event contact Karrina Duffy on 01225 477560 before October 29.
October 11 2002, This is The Black Country, Firework yobs making life a nightmare for us
It is with some regret that I feel the need to bring to your attention the fact that some residents of Dudley are big constantly harassed, Intimidated and assaulted by criminals who are permitted to flout the law and discharge fireworks in the immediate vicinity of highways and residential properties.
I have witnessed innocent pedestrians and drivers being targeted by these individuals and it is only a matter of time before someone suffers serious injury.
Local shops are being permitted to sell potentially lethal explosives to adults and children alike.
Repeated pleas to the police to deal with this problem have either been ignored or proved to be totally ineffective.
Polite requests by myself to the offenders to move to a safer environment have been met with verbal threats of personal assault and further threats against my property. I have already had a firework posted through my letterbox, which could have resulted in a fire. This, in my opinion, is arson, and, as there were children asleep in the house at the time it could have had very serious consequences.
Others are too frightened to complain for fear of reprisals directed specifically at them.
It has got to the stage now where elderly residents have become prisoners in their own homes, people are fearful to venture out after dark and normal activities like walking the dog have become more like excursions into a war zone.
I can't believe that with the huge amount of recent investment ploughed in to developing some areas of the borough, we, as a community on the fringe of the development area are allowing the continued decline of what was once a respectable and pleasant residential area.
I appreciate that local police resources are stretched, but I feel that a determined effort by them and resolve by local residents not to allow this to continue, would result in restoring some form of normality to an area that is increasingly becoming a no-go zone for respectable residents and visitor alike.
I have just on question: "Does someone have to die before any action is taken against these criminals?"
R. H. Dudley
October 11 2002, This is The Lake District, Fireworks protests
HOUSEHOLDERS in the Bowness and Windermere area have complained of suffering another weekend of disturbances after fireworks were let off late into the night and early morning.
In the past residents have criticised the increasing numbers of wedding parties holding displays at hotels which go on past 1am, which led to the Lake District Hospitality Association reminding its members not to hold events beyond midnight.
Last weekend, it is believed that a private resident or holidaymakers, held a display on Saturday night in the Rayrigg Road area.
Peter Steen, 48, of Glebe Gardens, Bowness, said Saturday's fireworks began at about 9pm, and went on intermittently through the evening until 4am on Sunday.
Previously he has written to South Lakeland District Council to try to find a solution, but has been told he has to keep a record of where the noise is coming from, which he says is
difficult because it is hard to be precise about where a firework is let off.
Mr Steen said his dogs were "going crazy" during the night as they tried to flee the noise, which went on until 4am.
Mr Steen added that as Guy Fawkes night approached, residents are expecting further disruptions.
October 11 2002, This is The North East, Fireworks pranksters condemned
Serious damage was caused to two shops when fireworks were thrown into them.
In the first incident, at about 8.30pm on Wednesday, a boy aged 13 or 14 and wearing a black balaclava and dark sports coat, rode a skateboard into Wingate Pizzas, in Front Street, Wheatley Hill, County Durham.
He dropped a large rocket on the floor and rode out, leaving it to explode into the wooden ceiling and cause extensive damage.
About half an hour later, a skateboarder rode past the Oriental Kitchen, about 100 yards away, and threw another firework in. Again, it exploded, causing damage.
Acting Sergeant Jonathan Wrigley, of Peterlee police, said: "The youngster or youngsters involved may have been doing it as a prank or dare, but the truth is, it was reckless in the extreme and could have been very much more serious. It was lucky no one was hurt, and fortunately the damage was not as bad as it could have been."
Anyone with information on the incidents is asked to contact police on 0191-586 2621 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
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