WITH the festive season approaching, many people are planning parties.
The period between Christmas and New Year’s Eve can be confusing for retailers who sell fireworks and related products.
Under Age Sales, a social enterprise that specialises in helping retailers prevent under age sales of restricted products, has provided tips for retailers who are planning to sell fireworks.
1. Storage: A retailer of fireworks, as a keeper of explosives, must register the desire to do so with a local licensing authority, the authority will differ depending on local arrangements. There are strict rules on the storage of fireworks that retailers need to adhere to.
2. Check the age: It is illegal to sell fireworks to people under the age of 18, sparklers are also included. It is illegal for under 18s to be in possession of fireworks in a public place, and so if they get caught, law enforcement is likely to enquire where they were purchased from.
3. Over 16 products: Products that can be sold to people of 16 years and older are cracker snaps, indoor fireworks, novelty matches, party poppers, gunpowder, and certain types of fireworks, such as serpents, caps and throwdowns. Christmas crackers can also cause confusion to retailers, as they should not be sold to children under the age of 12.
4. Legal sale times: The law prohibits the retail sale of outdoor fireworks before 00:01 hours on 26th December unless you (the retailer) have a special annual licence issued by your local licencing authority. Fireworks are permitted for sale between 00:01 hours on 26th December to 23:59 hours on 31st December.
5. Unsold items: Importantly, if you have any ‘leftovers’, they are not allowed to be sold on the 1st or 2nd January unless you have a special annual licence. Retailers that don’t have an annual licence will need to wait for the next permitted retail opportunity, which is Chinese New Year on the 19th February, to sell the surplus products. Retailers are able to sell fireworks from three days before, the 16th February.
6. Selection pack rules apply: It is illegal to sell category two or three fireworks that have been removed from a selection or primary pack, that was intended for supply as a single unit.
7. Penalties: Retailers can be fined up to £5,000 for breaching rules and regulations.
Tony Allen, managing director of Under Age Sales Ltd, comments: “The protection of people from exposure to harmful products lies at the heart of firework regulations. As the regulations change during certain periods in regards to fireworks, we want to help retailers stay within the law and have the confidence to know that they are trading legally and safely. It’s a fun time of year for everyone and nobody would want to hinder that with incidents resulting from under age or illegal sales.”