Fireworks are popular and fun, but it is important to remember that they are explosives and burn at very high temperatures, so they need careful handling and storage. Misuse of fireworks might lead to injury and may also cause misery to residents, pets and wild animals.
It is important that consumer's take care when purchasing fireworks and that retailers ensure safe storage and observe age restriction legislation.
The GOV.UK web site has some useful page for anyone who may be handling fireworks.
If you are a Leicestershire business and would like guidance on the laws and restrictions that apply to the sale of fire works please refer to the guidance set out on our Fireworks - Information for Retailers page. If you are a consumer you may find the information below helpful.
Always check labelling when buying fireworks. Fireworks sold to the public in the UK must meet British Standard BS7114. The British Standard marking should appear on the packaging and firework itself.
It is illegal to break down retail boxes of fireworks for sale. Do not purchase fireworks sold loose.
There are different categories of fireworks. Members of the public can buy and set off most of the fireworks that come under Categories 1 to 3. These are generally fireworks that can be used indoors, in your garden or at a display.
Some fireworks can only be bought and used by firework professionals. These include air bombs, aerial shells, aerial maroons, shells-in-mortar and maroons-in-mortar, all bangers, mini rockets, fireworks with erratic flight, some Category 2 and 3 fireworks which exceed certain size limits, and all Category 4 fireworks.
Always read the packet carefully and make sure that the fireworks you buy are suitable for the place where you are going to set them off.
It is illegal to sell adult fireworks (which includes sparklers) to anybody under the age of eighteen and caps, cracker snaps, indoor fireworks, novelty matches, party poppers, serpents and throwdowns to persons under sixteen. It is the retailer’s responsibility to determine the age of the potential buyer and the Service advises that the Challenge 21 approach is followed. This means that anyone appearing to be under 21 years of age will be asked to provide suitable photographic proof of age. This would be a passport, photo driving licence or PASS accredited proof of age card such as Validate UK. Please don’t take offence if a retailer asks you for proof of age when attempting to purchase fireworks or another age restricted product. They are simply taking steps to prevent illegal sales. If you look under 21 years of age and wish to purchase fireworks it would be advisable to carry proof of age with you to avoid a sale being refused.
If you have any information regarding the sale of fireworks to underage children please report it to Leicestershire Police on 0116 2222222 or Consumer Direct on 08454040506. Trading Standards do carry out test purchase operations working with underage child volunteers to test compliance with the age restriction and will react to any intelligence alleging illegal sales to children.
Legislation is in place which affects the sale, storage and use of fireworks.
It is a criminal offence to:
- Throw or discharge a firework in the street
- Possess an adult firework (this does not include caps, crackers snaps, novelty matches, party poppers, serpents, sparklers, or throwdowns) in a public place if aged under 18
- Possess a Category 4 firework if not a fireworks professional
- Use a firework between 11pm and 7am except for:
- November 5th - Midnight
- New Year’s Eve - 1am following day
- Chinese New Year - 1am following day
- Diwali - 1am following day
Please ensure that your children are aware of the dangers and potential repercussions associated with firework misuse. People found guilty of the above offences may be liable to a fine of up to £5,000 and 6 months imprisonment.
If you have any concerns regarding misuse of fireworks please contact Leicestershire Police on 0116 2222222.
Page Last Updated: 28 October 2009