16 September 2016
A firework trader who stored boxes of explosives without a licence and the appropriate safety measures has been handed an 18-week jail sentence, suspended for 12 months.
Mr Robert Phelps was also ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and pay £500 costs and an £80 victim surcharge.
The Manchester Evening News reports Phelps was caught out when an off-duty fire safety officer drove past a commercial unit in Bury, and noticed a banner advertising fireworks for sale.
After checks revealed the unit had no licence to store explosives, specialist fire safety officers returned to the building.
They found boxes of fireworks stored throughout the premises, on open display without any safety measures, and no risk assessment had been carried out.
Rochdale Magistrates Court heard how the fireworks were stored without any protective barriers and that a fire could have rapidly spread causing a huge explosion, putting people in the shop, surrounding businesses and emergency services at risk.
Speaking after the hearing, chairman of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue, David Acton, said: “Phelps disregarded the law and his reckless attitude placed the public, his staff and emergency services at risk.
“Selling fireworks can be a lucrative business, but traders must adhere to the law and store these potentially deadly explosives properly.
“If you try to sell fireworks without a licence you are putting the public at risk - we will find you and we will prosecute you.”