Seized fireworks

Festive firework warning following seizure of old stock

Northumberland County Council’s Trading Standards Service is asking residents to be its eyes on the ground following a seizure in November of old and potentially dangerous fireworks. 

The fireworks, found to be on sale in a general store in Blyth were dated back to at  least 2014. After discussions with the trader, and the provision of advice and guidance, the fireworks were voluntarily handed over by the store owner for destruction.

Any traders who have fireworks stocks without the CE mark on them are advised to   arrange for their safe disposal with their suppliers.

Councillor John Riddle, Northumberland County Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning, Housing and Resilience said, “Our Trading Standards Team do what they can to ensure that only safe products are sold in the county but residents can protect themselves and can be the eyes and ears for Trading Standards by reporting any suspicious fireworks that don’t carry the CE Mark or don’t come with adequate instructions. We also want to know if you see any fireworks being sold at markets or car boot sales. ”

Philip Soderquest, Head of Housing & Public Protection at the Council said “ Christmas and New Year is the second busiest time for firework sales in Northumberland and most of the stock bought in for Bonfire Night will be on sale again. 

“We are concerned that there will be old stock put back on sale that doesn’t comply with current standards, may have become separated from its instructions or may have been damaged or deteriorated whilst in storage. Our advice is to look for the CE Mark. As the controls on fireworks changed in 2015 you can be sure that any that have the CE mark on them will be recent stock.”
The Council's Trading Standards Service checks that traders hold a valid licence which covers the storage of certain explosives, including fireworks, that the fireworks are being stored safely and that the business has a system for checking the age of potential purchasers. They take steps, such as test purchasing to ensure that firework sales are only made to persons of 18 years or older. 

Unless a trader holds a licence to sell fireworks all year round, sales are restricted to authorised selling periods. 
The actual fireworks themselves are also checked to ensure that they are legal for sale to the public. Fireworks are categorised by levels 1 to 4. Categories 2 and 3 are classified as “adult fireworks” and these are what are generally found in domestic firework selections. Category 4 fireworks should never be found on sale to the public as these can only be supplied  to professional firework display operators. Since 2015 it has been a requirement that all fireworks be subjected to European safety standards and bear the CE marking to indicate that they comply with current standards.

Any resident or business who has any concerns about firework sales or safety can contact Trading Standards on 01670 623870 or email

Photo: A quantity of non - CE marked fireworks were seized from a shop in Northumberland this year where they had been found on sale. Some of the stock had been in storage since 2014. 

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