48 prosecutions at Tyrone courts: Police warning to fireworks yobs

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A total of 48 people have been prosecuted at local courts for the illegal use of fireworks, the highest number of convictions in Northern Ireland.

In fact, Fermanagh and Tyrone courts saw more than double the number of prosecutions at courts in Derry and Craigavon, over the past five years.

The figures were released by the Minister of Justice with the countdown to this year’s Halloween celebrations well underway.

Local police have warned of the dangers of fireworks and said that those breaking the law could face fines of up to £5,000.

“Fireworks contain explosive, flammable substances, which can cause serious injury to an individual or damage to property. Children using sparklers should also be closely supervised”, said Supt Jane Humphries.

“Parents need to make sure they know the whereabouts of their children and to make sure that they are not engaging in any criminal activity or criminal damage to property.”

Fireworks in Northern Ireland have long been subjected to some of the strictest laws in the world, while in the Republic of Ireland it is an offence to light any firework.

Those looking to use outdoor fireworks must apply for a licence from the Department of Justice.

Despite these tight regulations, people are still being injured at this time of year.

Last Halloween, there were 515 firework licences issued in Northern Ireland with 15 people reported to accident and emergency departments with firework-related injuries.

Most of those injured were children with burned hands or wrists.

The law in Northern Ireland is heavily dictated by its unique security situation.

During the Troubles, fireworks were completely banned, except for public displays, over fears that the noise of fireworks could be confused with the sound of bombs or gunfire. There were also concerns that they could be used as weapons or as parts of bombs. The ban was later lifted in 1996 at the time of the ceasefire.