Retailers warned of police action if caught selling fireworks to under 18s

Chief Inspector Sarah Pitt
Chief Inspector Sarah Pitt
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Retailers across Sunderland are being warned they will face police action if caught selling fireworks to under 18s.

The reminder, as part of the Darker Nights campaign, comes as the Bonfire season gets underway.

The law states it is illegal for under 18s to buy or be in possession of an adults firework - and those caught are being warned they will face police action.

Chief Inspector Sarah Pitt said: “We want everyone to have a safe and enjoyable bonfire season and not have it ruined by fireworks being misused.

“In our effort to do this we want to make sure people are clear on the law around fireworks and that they don’t get into the wrong hands and are used by youngsters playing around - you must be over 18 to buy or be in possession of a firework in a public place.

“Our absolute priority is public safety and we want our communities to work with us on this. Retailers are reminded if they’re unsure of whether someone is underage to ask for ID and while we would prefer people to attend an organised display if adults are buying fireworks we ask that they make sure they are stored safely out of harms way.”

Assistant Chief Officer Chris Lowther, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Businesses intending to store and sell fireworks must ensure that their premises have a current explosives licence and that adequate fire safety provisions are in place to store fireworks safely.

“In recent years we have seen an increase in fireworks being advertised and sold via social media without a licence or appropriate safe storage arrangements in place, putting members of the public at risk.

“The safety of the public is at the centre of everything we do, therefore I remind those businesses and the public that we will consider prosecuting anyone who sells and stores fireworks illegally.”

Further guidance and advice can be found at

Residents can report issues relating to underage or illegal sales by calling the confidential hotline on 0800 093 5878.

Coun Henry Trueman, Deputy Leader of Sunderland City Council and Chair of the Safer Sunderland Partnership said: “The consequences of underage sales can be serious. As the police are reminding here, traders must not sell to under 18s and if any doubt they should ask for ID. If there’s no ID or any doubts then there should be no sale.

“And, if you are thinking of using fireworks then you need to handle and store them carefully to protect you, your family, and your friends.”