Croydon trader fined over £4000 for breaching firework laws
The dangerous storage of fireworks, and sales to an under-age shopper, have left a trader facing a court penalty of more than £4,000 following a cross-borough trading standards investigation.
Croydon magistrates heard Tony Copland, owner of a flooring business with branches in South Croydon and Sutton, plead guilty to 16 charges relating to the sale and storage of fireworks.
Last November, Croydon trading standards officers carried out a test purchase exercise. During the test, a 15-year-old volunteer was sold a £20 box of fireworks by a member of staff at The Floor Store, in Brighton Road, South Croydon, before handing them over to officers.
Asked about the sale, Copland claimed that he did not know who the seller was and that he was covering at the shop following a theft. As officers were questioning Copland, they noticed open boxes of live fireworks leaning against the wall.
Other visits to Copland’s shops in Limpsfield Road, Sanderstead, and one in Sutton, revealed more fireworks stored unsafely in breach of the law, putting at risk customers, staff and local residents.
In court on Tuesday 3 September, Copland admitted 16 offences – eight as a company, and eight as the company’s director. Both he and the company were fined £100 for each offence, totalling £1,600, and he was personally ordered to pay costs of £2,500 and a £120 victim surcharge. The court ordered the destruction of all the seized fireworks.
Councillor Simon Hoar, cabinet member for community safety, said: “It’s the duty of fireworks traders to check the age of anybody trying to make a purchase who they think may be under age.
“It’s worrying that, in this case, a 15-year-old was able to purchase fireworks without question.
“The safe storage of fireworks is a priority for officers, both to protect staff and customers from the risk of explosion and fire. Visits are made to all registered sellers to ensure correct and safe storage.
“This case was a good example of boroughs working together to ensure public safety. Our trading standards teams will always ensure that the law is abided by, and that anybody who blatantly ignores the rules and puts the public at risk is prosecuted.”
In the UK it is illegal to sell adult fireworks to anybody under the age of 18.
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DATE: 11 September 2013