Warning over fireworks laws that could land you hefty fine or criminal charges

Misusing fireworks in the build up to Bonfire Night could land you criminal charges.
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The Bonfire Night period is an exciting time of year, with a number of fun events on around the country, and beautiful fireworks displays lighting up the sky. But, breaking certain rules could land you unlimited fines or even criminal charges.

Merseyside Police say this time of year is one of their busiest, with local communities seeing an increase in crime and anti-social behaviour on Halloween, Mischief Night and Bonfire Night. The underage selling of fireworks, as well as noisy and aggressive behaviour often results in increased pressure on the police and fire service.

Incidents such as firing rockets and fireworks at emergency services workers or smashing cars with bricks have been reported in previous years, and there are a number of actions that could result in criminal charges. Merseyside Police say emergency services received 16% more calls on Mischief Night in 2023, compared to last year.

Misusing fireworks

Misusing fireworks could result in a fine, arrest, police charges and potentially a criminal conviction. This includes behaviour such as throwing a firework in the street, making a bonfire in the street or throwing fireworks at properties, vehicles and people.

While most people will be aware that the above actions are prohibited, many may be unaware that setting off fireworks outside of certain hours could also end in criminal charges. It is against the law for anyone to set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am, except on Bonfire Night when the cut off is midnight or on New Year’s Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year, when the cut off is 1am.

The sale of fireworks is limited to people aged 18 and over and fireworks (including sparklers) can also only be purchased from registered sellers for private use on these dates:

  • October 15 to November 10
  • December 26 to 31
  • Three days before Diwali and Chinese New Year

At other times you can only buy fireworks from licensed stores, and vendors can be fined an unlimited amount and imprisoned for up to six months for selling or using fireworks illegally.

If you do plan on setting off fireworks, remember that members of the public may only use fireworks on private property, such as back gardens and only licensed professionals can use them in public places.

Merseyside Police warning

Merseyside Police Chief Inspector Duncan Swan said: “Anyone involved in criminal behaviour could be arrested and receive a fine, a criminal record or even jail time. If your child is under 16 then you will be liable for payment of any such fine. We all have a part of to play to play so that everyone stay safe over the Halloween and Bonfire Night period.

“I urge retailers not to sell items to children which can cause harm on others, and parents to ensure your child is behaving responsibly. No parent would want a knock on their door from a police officer informing them that their child has been arrested or, worse still, has been involved in a serious accident.”