Firework importer sentenced for safety failures

This story was published 27 June 2022

An imports company has been fined £39,000 by a court after fireworks wrongly labelled with a safety mark were found on sale in Scarborough.

A selection of fireworks

North Yorkshire Trading Standards officers conducted the prosecution against a Chester-based company, Fast Line Imports Limited, which pleaded guilty to three offences under the Pyrotechnic Articles (Safety) Regulations 2015 Act in a hearing at York Magistrates Court.

In addition to the fine, the company also faces costs of £2,245.

The CE mark is used to confirm that goods comply with safety regulations.

Trading standards officers submitted the ‘throwdown’ type fireworks for tests after they were seized in Scarborough, and those checks confirmed they contained an unknown explosive ingredient, not the one listed on the label, and also exceeded noise limits.

The company had failed to follow a conformity assessment procedure to show the product was safe before they sold it, which is require in law.

Despite that, the product was marked with the CE safety mark, which should only be applied once the conformity assessment procedure has been passed.

Trading standards officers issued a suspension notice preventing the product from being sold or supplied but the company failed to tell officers which wholesalers it had previously distributed the product to, meaning a complete withdrawal from sale could not happen.

Magistrates who heard the case said: “It beggars belief that you failed to co-operate with trading standards.”

They also considered that the product “presented a significant risk”.

Executive member for trading standards, Cllr Derek Bastiman, said: “A business that imports fireworks into the UK bears responsibility for ensuring that they are safe and meet safety and labelling standards.

“This company did not complete the appropriate steps to check the throwdowns were safe and then failed to assist the council’s officers in removing the product from the market.

“This is disappointing and irresponsible and the court recognised that in the sentence it passed today.”

Anyone who sees fireworks on sale which they are concerned about they can report them to trading standards officers via the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133.