WITH Bonfire Night just around the corner, the public are being urged to play their part in keeping dangerous and illegal fireworks out of circulation.
The 2014 Fireworks Hotline is launched this week, allowing residents to report concerns over sales from shops and private houses in confidence.
Middlesbrough Council Trading Standards Officers are also working with local businesses to ensure they comply with new laws covering the storage and sale of fireworks.
Help and advice is on offer, and officers will be carrying out inspections and test purchasing to make sure only fireworks which meet safety standards are sold, that they are stored safely and won’t be a fire risk and that they are not sold to children.
Trading Standards are working alongside partner agencies with responsibility for firework safety including Cleveland Fire Brigade, Cleveland Police and the Council’s Neighbourhood Safety Team.
Callers to the Fireworks Hotline can leave information in confidence, and are not required to leave their details – officers just need to know the address where the fireworks are being sold, and any available information on who is selling them, how and when they are being sold and to whom.
Councillor Julia Rostron, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, said: “We want families and children to enjoy this time of year safely, but in the wrong hands and badly stored, fireworks can be dangerous and they can cause serious injuries.
“I would urge the public to work with us to protect our communities and our children – let’s send these rogue sellers a strong message that they are not welcome in our neighbourhoods.”
“I would urge anyone with information on illegal sales to contact the Fireworks Hotline straight away – that call might prevent a child being seriously injured, and it could even save a life.
Anyone with concerns over the sale or storage of fireworks is urged to call the Fireworks Hotline in confidence on 01642 728223.
Anyone who has suffered fireworks-related anti-social behaviour can report issues to the Neighbourhood Safety Team on 01642 728367 or the police non-emergency number 101.