Young volunteers will help ensure firework safety

Published: Wednesday 1 November 2023

A local shop worker refuses to sell fireworks when approached at the till point by a teenager holding the explosives.

Trading Standards Officers will be working with young volunteers in a fireworks test purchase scheme over the next fortnight. 

The team will be conducting covert test purchases in the fewer than 50 premises now registered to sell fireworks in South Lanarkshire in the lead-up to November 5th.

The aim is to ensure that each upholds the law by refusing to sell to under-18s. 

Visits take place at various times of the day and evening across the range of retail premises on the register. Volunteers’ ages range from 16-18 years of age and each will be accompanied by a Trading Standards Officer who will step in if the sale is made without asking for ID. 

The exercise is designed to boost consumer safety and tackle anti-social behaviour by enforcing both the age restriction for sales and the period in which fireworks can be purchased - between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Councillor Robert Brown, Chair of Community and Enterprise Resources believes that ongoing education, advice and support of retailers is paying dividends, not just around underage sales, but as relates to the safe storage of explosives.

He added: “We are very encouraged by the responsible stance taken by our retailers in past years in not selling fireworks to under 18s, and we want to make sure that continues. By undertaking a programme of regular visits, we can be sure that each registered premises is fully up to date with the law on how to store these dangerous substances, and who they can and cannot sell them to.

“Ultimately, our advice to them remains – if there is any doubt about the age of a potential customer, refuse the sale. There is no room for error. The potential for anti-social behaviour, and indeed, serious injury, is huge when dangerous explosives fall into the wrong hands. Our approach is about putting safety first whilst allowing all residents, to enjoy this time of the year without accident or incident, whether they choose to take part in the festivities or not.” 

There are four times each year when registered traders can legally sell fireworks. 

These are: 

  • November 5th – three weeks before and one week after
  • New year: December 26-31
  • Chinese New Year – four days before and including the day itself – normally late January/early February
  • Diwali – 12th November

Retailers can only sell outside these periods if granted a more extensive licence at a cost of £500 per year.