Residents are being warned to be wary of counterfeit fireworks in the lead up to Bonfire Night after illegal bangers were found in Crewe.
Bangers have been banned in the UK since 1997 but the fireworks are thought to have been imported from China and are being illegally counterfeited using the Black Cat brand, which is leading some consumers into a false sense of security.
The bangers – small red tubes with a short fuse on top – are sold in packs of 10.
Now, Cheshire East Council is urging people not to buy goods from the back of a van, car boot sales or unlicensed premises in a bid to stamp out this menace.
The authority is keen to ensure residents keep safe and have an enjoyable Bonfire Night and wants people to remain vigilant and ensure the fireworks they are buying are legal.
It comes as the Council’s consumer protection and investigations team and Cheshire Police carried out 25 test purchases of fireworks at retailers across Cheshire East on Monday to stamp out underage sales.
The authority has praised local retailers in Sandbach, Middlewich, Crewe, Knutsford and Wilmslow, which were all found to be fully compliant with the law.
However, residents should still steer clear of counterfeit fireworks, some of which could be being sold on the internet. It is vital that people only purchase fireworks from legitimate traders.
Meanwhile, all retailers are reminded they must display a sign where fireworks are supplied or exposed stating that it is illegal to: sell adult fireworks or sparklers to anyone under 18; or possess fireworks in a public place.
They are also advised that they should continue to be diligent in determining the age of purchasers. Proof of age should always be asked for.
And anyone who suspects someone of selling illegal or counterfeit fireworks should call Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 08454 04 05 06.