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TWO retailers have been fined thousands of pounds after failing to adequately store fireworks in their shops.
Aamar Ahmed, 37, of Esmond Road, Cheetham Hill, was ordered to pay over £5000 following a hearing at Manchester Magistrates Court on Monday, July 11, 2016.
Ahmed narrowly avoided prison after pleading guilty to two offences of failing to comply with a condition of a licence issued to him under the Explosives Regulations Act 2014.
Fire safety officers who visited Ahmed’s temporary shop found fireworks scattered over the shop floor and not being stored in a locked cabinet, which was a breach of his licence. Officers also discovered Hazard Type 3 fireworks hidden behind a vending machine.
These fireworks are more dangerous if a fire occurs because they are a blast and projectile hazard. More stringent conditions apply to this type of fireworks and where they can be stored.
Abigail Hudson, prosecuting for the GMFRA, told the Court: “Small temporary fireworks shops are regulated because of the danger posed. When not stored safely there is a risk of serious injury and property damage.
“Mr Ahmed understood what was required of him and put cost cutting before public safety. If a fire occurred there was a risk of injury or death to people in the shop and the vicinity as well as firefighters who would be required to attend.”
Ahmed was told the offence was so serious he could have gone to prison but as no injury had occurred he was fined £1000 for each offence, ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £100 and the full prosecution costs amounting to £2,924.
This prosecution comes just weeks after Khawar Rehman, 27, of Tansley Road, Crumpsall was given a four month curfew and ordered to pay £1,400 costs and a £60 victim surcharge after pleading guilty to the same offences.
Rehman was handed the sentence at a hearing in Manchester Magistrates Court on June 1, 2016.
The court heard how a specially trained fire safety officer visited Rehman at his temporary shop on Oldham Road before he was issued with a licence on the October 28, 2015.
A further visit was carried out by officers on the October 31, 2015 to ensure Mr Rehman understood and was complying with the conditions of the licence and the officers found everything was satisfactory at the shop.
On November 5, 2015, two officers passed the premises and observed a youth carrying large fireworks into the shop.
As they approached the shop they saw that there were fireworks all over the shop floor.
After entering the shop the officers found that Rehman had removed the doors to the display cabinets and that fireworks were haphazardly stored on the floor in the sales area.
Officers also found powerful Hazard Type 3 fireworks which were not allowed under the conditions of Rehman’s licence.
Rehman told the officers: “I got a good price on them so thought I would take a chance as it was too good to miss.”
Assistant County Fire Officer, Geoff Harris, Director of Prevention and Protection, said: “Fireworks are enjoyed by many people at Bonfire night and other times of year and can be a great way of celebrating when used responsibly.
“But they are explosives and can be very dangerous which is why the storage of more than small amounts is regulated.
“We have worked hard to make sure firework sellers are aware and understand how to store fireworks safely.
“Last year we issued over 400 licences and provided advice to people selling fireworks.
“Sadly in these cases Mr Ahmed and Mr Rehman chose to flout the conditions of their licences.
“We support businesses who want to comply with the law but will take tough action against those who put our communities and firefighters at risk.”