Trading Standards officers in North Yorkshire are aware of increasing numbers of fireworks being sold via Facebook and other social media sites and are issuing a warning to both buyers and sellers.
The safety of fireworks is tightly regulated and any firework sold to the public in the UK must meet the European safety standard. Fireworks which have been tested and are safe will be marked with the European safety mark, the stylised ‘CE’, which people might recognise from toys and electrical equipment. Fireworks must also be labelled with clear safety instructions in English.
Sellers of fireworks are also required to register with Trading Standards so that the safety of their storage and sales facilities can be checked, along with their stock.
Counterfeit and unsafe fireworks are imported into the UK and, because of the checks that are carried out at wholesalers and high street retailers, these are likely to end up being sold through social media or at car boots sales and in pubs. Trading Standards advice is never to buy fireworks from an unregistered supplier because there is no guarantee that the items you are buying are safe. Officers have also come across examples of fireworks being sold with instructions in a foreign language. Following instructions correctly is essential to avoid firework mishaps, even with items which have been found to be safe when tested, so members of the public should avoid buying anything which does not have clear instructions in English.
Officers are conducting checks on Facebook, and enforcement action will be taken against unregistered sellers. This week, a significant quantity of fireworks was seized from a residential property in the Scarborough area, and Trading Standards is issuing a strong warning to anyone who is storing fireworks at home to sell via Facebook or elsewhere that they are risking a serious incident and are likely to invalidate any home insurance they hold.
County Councillor Chris Metcalfe, Executive Member for Trading Standards, said:
It is worrying to see that some individuals are willing to risk the safety of others, as well as themselves, by storing and selling a product which might not have undergone safety checks. I’d encourage anyone who has concerns about items they see or hear about for sale to report it to Trading Standards via Citizens Advice on 03454 040506.