West Sussex County Council Trading Standards and West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service are reminding residents and businesses that firework safety isn’t just about November 5.
Over the next month, officers from both services will be checking the larger firework stores to ensure that any large quantities of fireworks held are stored safely and legally.
Officers will also be out inspecting shops selling fireworks for compliance and have promised tough action on anyone found storing fireworks illegally.
A recent case in Kent has highlighted just how dangerous illegal storage can be when a man was given a six month suspended prison sentence for unsafely storing a huge amount of fireworks in a unit within a self-storage facility. Just one spark could have ignited the equivalent of 25kg of gunpowder which could have destroyed the entire building.
Mark Hayter, head of business fire safety at West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, said: “There are strict regulations around the sale and storage of fireworks for a reason.
“Fireworks are essentially a type of explosive and if they become involved in a fire, however small, they can cause a potentially lethal explosion putting the public and firefighters’ lives at risk.
“Anyone who intends to store and sell fireworks must register or apply for a licence. We would much rather work with local business owners to give them the information and advice they need to comply with the law. However, where business owners are trading illegally and putting lives at risk, we will seek to prosecute.”
Philip Lipscomb, head of Trading Standards added: “We would also remind traders and the public that it is illegal to sell fireworks to those under 18 and also to sell them from any mobile premises - be it van, car boot sale or market stall ”
If you are a business that needs to apply for a fireworks licence or registration, call trading standards on 01243 642124. If you want to report any suspicious firework sales or storage please call 03454 040506 or go to www.westsussex.gov.uk/tsreport.