RETAILERS are being told to stick to the rules when selling fireworks.
West Yorkshire Trading Standards today urged businesses selling fireworks to stick to the agreed three-week period for selling them - which has just started.
They also want shops to stop selling to people under 18, which is illegal, anyway.
Their plea comes because they have already received complaints - some started in July - about fireworks causing a nuisance.
The three-week sales period is only a voluntary code of practice, but could become law if a new Bill makes it through Parliament.
Trading standards officials also ask retailers not to sell fireworks to people who seem likely to misuse them - as they are most at risk from accidents.
During 2002's firework season, 1,017 people were injured by fireworks, a 25% drop on 2001.
Injuries to boys aged between 13 and 17 were still much higher than any other age group.
Martin Wood, West Yorkshire Trading Standards chief officer, said: "It is illegal for anyone under 18 to be sold fireworks - and that includes sparklers.
"It is also illegal to break open packs of fireworks and sell them individually. Last year, we successfully prosecuted a number of offenders who sold to children, resulting in heavy fines. This year will be no exception."
Clr Graham Clarke, chairman of the trading standards committee, said: "It distresses me to hear of so many needless injuries. My message is to get wise or get hurt. Fooling with fireworks is dangerous."
Alert over sparkler danger
PARENTS of young children are being warned about the dangers of allowing them to handle sparklers.
The number of injuries caused by fireworks last year fell by 25%, according to the Department of Trade of Industry. Officials are now turning their attention to sparklers, which left 132 people needing hospital treatment 12 months ago.
The campaign, costing almost £500,000, is being run by the DTI and the national charity Child Accident Prevention Trust.
Consumer minister Gerry Sutcliffe said: "A simple sparkler can reach temperatures of 1,000ºC - 10 times the temperature of boiling water."
Experts are advising parents not to give sparklers to children under the age of five.
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