Businesses reminded they need an explosives licence to store and sell fireworks following a caution and seizure

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service is reminding businesses of the consequences of not having a valid explosives licence if they wish to sell and store fireworks for the New Year and Chinese New Year period.

This reminder comes as Washington business Autosport Discount Centres have been issued with a Caution, following the seizure of fireworks last year.

On October 20, 2017 following information received from Sunderland City Council Trading Standards TWFRS visited the premises and discovered fireworks on display being unsafely stored. The premises did not have a valid explosives licence and admitted they had never had one.

Upon inspection we found a number of issues:

  • there was no suitable fire safety arrangements in place, both on the shop floor retail area and the rear stock area. Officers discovered fireworks being unsafely stored both on the shop floor and in the stock area with potential ignition sources such as car batteries being stored close by
  • the fireworks in the retail area were not within a suitable display cabinet allowing the public easy access to them
  • no inventory was kept so staff had no control over the amount of fireworks kept on the shop floor
  • there was poor housekeeping throughout, with boxes being kept in various positions within the building, including next to flammable substances.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) Area Manager Lynsey McVay, said: “What our Fire Safety Inspectors found at this business was not only reckless but extremely dangerous. Not having a valid licence to store fireworks is a criminal offence and can lead to an unlimited fine, two years imprisonment or both.

“Among many issues we also found that fireworks were not stored correctly or safely. The fireworks were not kept within a fire resisting storeroom away from other miscellaneous stock items and were stacked next to other flammable stock items and in close proximity to the car repair garage at the rear of the building – this is incredibly dangerous.”

A mixture of Hazard Type 3 and Hazard Type 4 fireworks were stored on the premises – the guidance states some form of detached storage such as an ISO container should have been provided – but wasn’t.

Following the inspection we had no choice but to take the fireworks away and store them at one of our licenced storage locations.

Area Manager McVay added: “The licence application process is very simple, businesses just need to request an inspection through our website and the inspection will then be arranged within 28 days.”

TWFRS Fire Safety Inspectors can help businesses through this process by carrying out inspections to ensure that fireworks are stored legally and safely in accordance with the Explosives Regulations 2014.  To request advice or apply for an explosives licence please visit our website and request an inspection.

We would like to remind businesses and the public that it is illegal to sell fireworks outside of the selling period, which at this time of year businesses can sell between December 26 and December 31. Inspectors from our Business Fire Safety team, Northumbria Police and local Trading Standards teams may be conducting joint inspections to ensure the safety of all residents within Tyne and Wear.

For more information please go to: and to report concerns of storage or selling of fireworks outside of this period please contact our Business Fire Safety Team on 0191 444 1664 or 0191 444 1500 (out of hours).