Businesses who plan to sell and store fireworks are being reminded that they need an up to date explosives licence.
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) is reminding businesses that they need such a licence to safely store fireworks.
The fire brigade's advice comes ahead of this year's Diwali and Bonfire Night, when many businesses will be preparing to sell fireworks for the festivities.
Those who fail to get a licence are being warned that it is a criminal offence that could lead to a fine or prison sentence.
In recent years, TWFRS has seen a number of incidents where business owners have received cautions, prison terms and fines – all because they did not have a valid licence or were storing fireworks unsafely and putting the public at significant risk.
TWFRS area manager Lynsey McVay, said: “Not having a valid licence to store fireworks is a criminal offence and can lead to an unlimited fine, two years imprisonment or both.
“However the process is very simple businesses just need to request an inspection through our website, the inspection will then be arranged within 28 days.”
In one case , TWFRS received intelligence from our partners Northumbria Police that a person was storing and selling fireworks without a licence from their home.
They were selling to members of the public, including children via Facebook.
The fire service identified a significant quantity of fireworks illegally stored in a bedroom - putting him, his family and neighbours at enormous risk.
The fireworks were immediately seized and destroyed.
TWFRS have already had reports of fireworks being set off throughout the region and are reminding businesses and the public that it is illegal to sell fireworks outside of the selling period, between October 15 and November 10.
Inspectors from the Business Fire Safety team, Northumbria Police and local Trading Standards teams, will be conducting joint inspections to ensure the safety of all residents within Tyne and Wear.
TWFRS area manager Ms McVay added: "Diwali on November 6 and Bonfire Night on November 5 is less than a month away, therefore it’s imperative that businesses get their inspection requests into us as soon as possible."
“Businesses simply can’t take risks with lives and their own livelihoods by storing and selling fireworks both illegally and dangerously.
"We are here to help and provide them with the advice that they need to pass the necessary inspections before they receive a licence to store at their premises.”
TWFRS fire safety inspectors can help businesses by carrying out inspections to ensure that fireworks are stored legally and safely.
To request an inspection and apply for an explosives licence, visit: www.twfire.gov.uk/community-safety/business/fireworks-explosive-regulations/
To report concerns of storage or selling of fireworks outside of this period please contact the Business Fire Safety Team on 0191 444 1664 or 0191 444 1500.