Witney News - Be a bright spark – follow the fireworks rules

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Be a bright spark – follow the fireworks rules

People are being warned that they could face a £5,000 fine or a stint in prison if they break the fireworks rules.

Thames Valley Police is again teaming up with partners to help ensure that Bonfire Night is trouble-free for all, and that fireworks are used safely and responsibly.

And to help highlight the fireworks rules, a competition for young people is being launched with an iPod on offer for the person who best designs a poster to promote the legislation this time next year.

New legislation was introduced last year, in response to people's concerns about the problems of antisocial behaviour involving fireworks.

The rules make it illegal to:
• Have fireworks if you're under 18
• Set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am
• Have professional fireworks without a licence
• Sell fireworks without a licence

Anyone found breaching these regulations could face a prosecution and a criminal record, plus a fine of up to £5,000 and/or six months in prison.

To help enforce the law the Force's first Fireworks Partnership was set up in Oxfordshire last year. It enables key partners to work together to more effectively reduce the risks and nuisance posed by dangerous and anti-social use of fireworks.

Following the success of the pilot project in the Cherwell district, the Oxfordshire Fireworks Partnership has been extended to include partners from across the county.* It is hoped that next year the partnership approach will be extended to cover the whole of Thames Valley.

PC Mike Ellis, the Anti-Social Behaviour Coordinator for Thames Valley Police, said: "As the agencies involved in the partnership all have responsibility for different aspects of ensuring fireworks are used, stored and sold safely, we find that by working together we can provide a better and more effective response.

"We don't want to stop people from having fun when celebrating with fireworks, but we do want to make sure people use them sensibly and safely. We will also be taking action against anyone who causes unnecessary harm or distress to others by using fireworks anti-socially or dangerously.

"All the partner agencies will be working closely together over the coming weeks to make sure the fireworks season is a trouble-free time for all."

PC Ellis also encouraged young people to get creative and enter the poster competition being run to help promote and raise awareness of the fireworks rules. Full details of how to apply can be found on the Thames Valley Police website for under 18s, Underzone, found at www.thamesvalley.police.uk/underzone

* The Oxfordshire Fireworks Partnership comprises Thames Valley Police, Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, South Central Ambulance Service NHS Trust (Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Division), the county’s Trading Standards, plus the district councils of Cherwell, Oxford City, Vale of White Horse, South Oxfordshire and West Oxfordshire.

Posted : 13/10/2006 11:31:16

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