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Aberdeen retailers reminded to act responsibly in lead up to fireworks night

31/10/12

Retailers are being urged to act responsibly in the run up to fireworks night by ensuring that they stick to the rules on storage and sales.

Fireworks. Fireworks have been on sale since 15 October and Aberdeen City Council's Trading Standards team has been working to ensure all businesses storing and selling fireworks do so safely and do not sell to under 18s.

City businesses must be registered with the Council in order to sell fireworks and fireworks must be stored in a way that ensures the safety of staff and shoppers.

Each of the 26 businesses in Aberdeen registered to sell fireworks will be visited by Trading Standards officers in the coming days to check on how fireworks are being stored and, where necessary, advise on any improvements required to comply with legal requirements for safe storage.

Officers are also taking steps to ensure fireworks are not being sold to under 18s. In addition to advising businesses on how to comply with the age restriction, officers carried out a test purchasing exercise across the city using an underage volunteer last Thursday. Eleven businesses were visited and the volunteer was refused fireworks at all except one where the 16-year-old was sold a large single firework.

Any shop that does sell a firework to someone under 18-years-old could be reported to the Procurator Fiscal. The maximum penalty for this offence is a 5,000 fine, six months imprisonment, or both.

Shops which sell fireworks must also clearly display a sign informing customers that the minimum age for buying fireworks is 18-years-old.

Graeme Paton, Aberdeen City Council Trading Standards team leader, said: "Businesses are generally happy to follow the advice we give on safe storage. I'm also pleased with the results of our test purchasing which shows that the majority of retailers in the city are selling fireworks responsibly.

"Our advice is do not be tempted to buy from markets, boot sales or the backs of vans as these sellers will not be registered and the fireworks they sell may be unsafe. Officers will continue to carry out inspections at registered premises selling fireworks to offer guidance on safe storage and the age restriction on sales. They will also investigate any reports of fireworks being sold illegally."

Anyone concerned about the storage or sale of fireworks is asked to contact the Trading Standards team via the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 08454 040506 or e-mail tradingstandards@aberdeencity.gov.uk