Call for tougher action against South Yorkshire firework yobs

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SIX people were pursued by police for crimes involving fireworks being used as a weapon over the last year - despite 85 incidents being reported.

The figures have been obtained by The Star under the Your Right To Know campaign.

South Yorkshire Police revealed there were 85 incidents recorded on its systems involving fireworks being used as a weapon, such as criminal damage and arson.

One person was charged with an offence, two received written warnings, another received a fixed penalty notice and two people were dealt with by restorative justice.

The force added it has no record of incidents involving fireworks being used anti-socially, such as late at night.

South Yorkshire Police said those incidents are ‘non-recordable crimes’ and the force are unable to say if anyone was prosecuted or fined.

According to the law, fireworks should not be let off between 11pm and 7am, apart from on Bonfire Night when the latest time is midnight, and 1am at New Year, Diwali and Chinese New Year.

Sale of fireworks is also restricted to over 18s and only in the run-up to Bonfire Night, New Year, Diwali and Chinese New Year.

Offenders can be fined or jailed for up to three months.

Tenants’ and residents’ groups called for police to take a tougher line at ensuring action is taken against offences involving fireworks.

Mick Daniels, chairman of Brushes Tenants’ and Residents’ Association, said: “It’s like a lot of low-level criminal and anti-social behaviour that is going on, like littering and fly-tipping.

“People just don’t get prosecuted. The question is, have the police the resources?”

Jean Gleadall, of Wisewood Tenants’ and Residents’ Association, added: “Anti-social behaviour involving fireworks is quite a problem and it frightens me. Fireworks have been landing in gardens and they have even been put through letter boxes in the past.

“The police should make more effort to mount prosecutions - at the moment there is no deterrent.”

South Yorkshire Police said: “The force is working closely with the fire service and each district is committed to tackling the misuse of fireworks during the bonfire period.”

Work includes the day of action, poster campaign, activities for young people and test purchasing operations in shops.