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Would you give fireworks to a child?

Melanie Grant - One Show team | 17:30 UK time, Monday, 3 November 2008

As beautiful and breathtaking as they are, fireworks in the hands of a child are potential deadly weapons.

Despite the messages, adverts and government campaigns more than a thousand people are maimed each year by fireworks and most of them are children.

You'll see in the video how Rav Wilding met a young victim whose life drastically changed because of playing with fireworks.

Jake had dreams of studying art before he was maimed at the age of 15. He found a firework on the floor, lit it and bang.

The firework immediately went off and the left hand that Jake used to draw with, was damaged beyond full repair - to this day Jake doesn't have full usage of his hand.

The law states that it's a criminal offence to sell fireworks to under 18s but sadly some retailers are still breaking the law.

The One Show went undercover to find out how easy it would be for a teenager to get hold of some fireworks.

It's heartening that eight out of ten shops didn't sell any fireworks to 15-year-old Sarah but that still means two retailers did.

Why isn't the threat of a £5,000 for each sale or a prison sentence of up to six months enough to put some of these retailers off?

And if Jake went and showed other children his injuries would that make them realise the potential danger of fireworks?

Be safe on your fireworks night.

For advice see the RoSPA Firework Top Ten Safety Code for Adults

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  • 1. At 7:10pm on 03 Nov 2008, poshMattyMoo wrote:

    I think fireworks should be banned from sale unless they are being used in an organised display. Users should have to have a permit to purchase them.

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  • 2. At 7:11pm on 03 Nov 2008, politeBudgie50 wrote:

    How come that when i want to get work done to my home i have to have a risk assessment followed by unnecessary scaffolding and huge cost but a teenager can still buy explosives with no regard to his abilities training etc? surely the time has come to licence purchasers of fireworks who would have the necessary training?

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  • 3. At 7:16pm on 03 Nov 2008, eriktheone wrote:



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  • 4. At 7:16pm on 03 Nov 2008, juliee1961 wrote:

    I totally agree they should only be sold to permit holders for displays. I have had a stray firework go off next to me the bang hurt my ears and my coat was all burnt thank goodness it was only my coat.

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  • 5. At 7:18pm on 03 Nov 2008, justalimay wrote:

    Just Ali May from Cambridgeshire

    For years we used to be terrorised by Gangs of Youths playing with fireworks in the street outside where we used to live. It was pointless calling the police because by the time they came out, if they could be bothered, they had moved on. We have now moved an it is much better.

    I personally think that fireworks should only be sold for display purposes or alterntively you should have to apply for a license to purchase fireworks after all they are an explosive and you have to have a license to own a gun and a tv so why not for fireworks.

    You could apply for the license from your local council and have to take this license with you to the shop to enable them to sell you the fireworks.

    I am also disgusted that the shjops in the film only got a warning. It should be zero tollerance. If you keep dishing out warnings no one is going to take any notice of the laws.

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  • 6. At 7:21pm on 03 Nov 2008, merskits wrote:


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  • 7. At 7:25pm on 03 Nov 2008, georgiepudrocks wrote:

    I am a 13 year old girl who has many a time attended and enjoyed a firework display. I understand the danger of a firework due to the wisdom my parents have given me. However, i find it humiliating that many young adults are not trusted with buying a firework due to the minority who will not respect the hazards involved. Instead of restricting the freedom of younger teenagers, shouldn't their parents be encouraged to teach them about the perils of the outside world and how to handle them? we are losing the chances to understand our surroundings so we can develop into responible adults, and condemning ourselves to a life of confusion and lack of common sense.

    p.s: how am i supposed to learn about speaking in public and developing my social skills when i have to be 16 to post such an article?

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  • 8. At 7:45pm on 03 Nov 2008, moota2000 wrote:

    Thank you for your wonderful presentation of the dangers of the fireworks. I do believe it is quite important thing to show it to the other people, to reflect their thoughts of the dangers of using the fireworks irresponsibly.

    However, good on you for testing the shopkeepers, and I am not surprised there is a huge number of shopkeepers doesnt really bother asking for their ID’s.

    However, I am totally very displeased and also very disgusted with the Polices attitude towards the shopkeepers. Which that had made me very, very angry, as Adrian Chiles, have mentioned that the police have seen the shopkeepers, and they have been just been WARNED – What? Is that’s all?!

    The police are becoming BLOODY too soft and the shopkeepers should be fined for selling to the underage girl. British shopkeepers need to learn this lesson. Thus, if they have seen this clip, and they will carry on selling, expecting to be just WARNED from the police anyway…!

    As I am shopkeeper myself, as I do work for Tesco Extra. And their rules states that - If I have sold the items to underage people, like fireworks, or cigarettes, or lottery tickets or even booze, and then the fine, which are being presented, and then it will NOT goes directly to the store, as it would be passed ONTO to me - Or to WHOEVER the person who has sold the item to the underage customers.

    So why doesnt the police charge the interdependent stores and do the same thing. The police should FINE them… I think you need to go back and review this properly… as it is quite SERIOUS issue!

    As after watching this clip and I am quite displeased with the attitude of the Police, as this have left a ugly, foul taste in my mouth, and I am sure there will be more children being hurt….!

    James Anderson - Wemyss Bay

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  • 9. At 7:51pm on 03 Nov 2008, angelicKatyJones wrote:

    Whilst I agree with previous comments re. tighter legislation around the supply and use of fireworks, the case featured in tonight's One Show would not have been averted by this (even a "legitimate" supplier/user could accidentally drop a firework in the street). Sadly, the fault lies with Jake's mother. In the 1960's, when we were young, we always had fireworks in our tiny back garden. My dad followed all the current safety instructions (keeping them in a tin box, lighting them at arm's length, never returning to one that didn't ignite fully, etc.) and our parents impressed upon us the power and danger of fireworks (the thrill and beauty was self-evident!). The most we were allowed to handle were "sparklers" - and we were given strict instructions on how to handle these safely. As we grew older our parents decided the safest and most enjoyable way to see fireworks was at organised displays. Due to my parents' influence and care, it would never have occurred to me - at any age - to pick up a firework in the street and light it. Whilst I do feel sorry for Jake (he has learned at a tender age that his actions have consequences) had his mother given him the correct guidance from a young age, he need never have suffered in this way.

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  • 10. At 7:57pm on 03 Nov 2008, mcRochester wrote:

    In response to eriktheone, Trading Standards need to use under age people otherwise they will never secure a prosecution. What I can't believe is the Police and Oldham trading standards gave a warning. The evidence was there, we all saw the sale, didn't we?? They should have been prosecuted.

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  • 11. At 8:32pm on 03 Nov 2008, quietvenus47 wrote:

    I think the OneShow, together with your wildlife xperts should champion the banning of fireworks apart from organised displays.
    Reason not just to protect people, but the detrimental effect of continual nightly banging of fireworks has on urban wildlife.

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  • 12. At 10:44am on 04 Nov 2008, CairnTerrier wrote:

    What did the 15 year intend doing with the firework?

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  • 13. At 4:40pm on 04 Nov 2008, swinklestar wrote:

    I agree with Poshmattymoo. In these days of global warming most people are aware of their carbon footprints - yet there are no restrictions on the sale of fireworks. I think we should only have public displays or if we allow fireworks to be bought people should have to obtain a permit.

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  • 14. At 7:46pm on 10 Nov 2008, amiiwiz wrote:

    I think fireworks should be banned except for displays int he local area that are done by trianed adults. Although it seems that it was biased against the people who sell fireworks they should always ask for ID in any case and also whether or not they are qualified to handle them. My friends Dad had bought a load of fireworks. He had set them off when his 4 and 8 year old children were about 1 maybe 2 metres away. It is dangerous to sell fireworks to anyone really unless they have the qualifacations.

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  • 15. At 8:59pm on 10 Nov 2008, groovygrannycarol wrote:

    My niece from Australia was shocked to find fireworks on sale to the public - for her it was like selling drugs in Woolworths Why cant we have public displays only? or is this against our human rights - Australians are happy without buying fireworks

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  • 16. At 9:55pm on 10 Nov 2008, Lionel wrote:

    Hi. I am one of those 'trained experts' so often referred to in the above posts as being the only ones who should be able to set off fireworks.
    I wholly understand why this thought prevails as even I find it intensley annoying to come across situations of irresponsible firework use. The problem is that they are a tiny minority compared to the amount of responsible people who go out each year and buy a box of fireworks for their own home entertainment.
    Personally, what I see as wrong is the ever lax implication of the law by both the police and courts. I do think the courts could do much better though I have some sympathy with the police as they are to few on the ground and kept to busy filling in forms that satisfy nobody other than the faceless wonders who live in Whitehall.
    There is one thing that concerns me with the sale of fireworks to the general public and that is potential to re-configure ordinary pyro into something much more lethal. This is the bit that seems odd to me intodays terrorist frenzy driven politics?

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  • 17. At 10:06pm on 10 Nov 2008, Bugwatcha wrote:

    It is about time Fireworks were banned from shops altogether, and only sold to registered organisations who have been safety checked.
    Besides being dangerous, animals suffer for days even weeks before and after bonfire night, as they are set off at all hours even before it is dark.
    Also if we only had them at organised events our Police and fire brigades and NHS resources could be put to better use, and money saved.

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  • 18. At 10:47pm on 12 Nov 2008, goodporky1 wrote:

    I think that all fireworks should be band.
    Only the shows in the parks that are run by the concils should be allowed.
    That way no one would get hurt at all.
    OK the shop owner's would lose money, but lives would be saved.
    When the kids get hold of these fireworks and they throw them at the people that walk pass them, its hard to forget that.
    I'm 52 years old, this happened when I was only 9 years old but I can still see it happening.
    Some of the kids these days do it too. So thats why I dont go out at night around this time of year at all.

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  • 19. At 5:52pm on 13 Nov 2008, niceboyblueeyes wrote:

    dont ban fireworks its not fair on the genuine people

    i have fireworks for my kids every year and never once had problems

    and it is also teaching them lessons in life about the dangers of such items

    how else are we going to teach the younger generation

    so dont let a few mindless morons spoil it for everyone

    as it is nice to see family and friends gathering for a private fireworks party

    so why should i have to stop having my own display

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