Under Age Sales advises retailers on firework regulations ahead of New Year

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It’s that time of year when festive revellers are planning their parties – and many will be hoping theirs go off with a bang. But for retailers, the period between Christmas and New Year’s Eve can be a confusing time in terms of selling fireworks and related products.

From not being able to sell under 12s Christmas crackers, to only being able to sell outdoor fireworks on certain days, here are some top tips from Under Age Sales that retailers need to familiarise themselves with this new year.

  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
  1. 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
  1. 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
  1. Legal sale times: the law prohibits the retail sale of outdoor fireworks before 00:01 hours on 26 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 26 December to 23:59 hours on 31 December
  1. Unsold items: importantly, if you have any ‘leftovers’, they are not allowed to be sold on the 1 or 2 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 19 February, to sell the surplus products. Retailers are able to sell fireworks from three days before, 16 February.
  1. 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
  1. Penalties: retailers can be fined up to £5,000 for breaching rules and regulations

Tony Allen, managing director of Under Age Sales, said: “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.”