IT'S getting to the time of the year where people are purchasing fireworks and preparing their own private displays.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced most major fireworks displays to be cancelled this year and big gatherings with anyone outside your household are banned.

Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, South West Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust and Dorset Police have all encouraged Dorset residents to be safe and avoid taking risks which could put additional pressure on emergency services.

While most people approach the use of fireworks responsibly, others use them in ways that are extremely dangerous and can cause injuries and damage to property.

Fireworks can also be damaging to wildlife or unsettle pets and livestock. 

These are your rights about fireworks and what to do if someone lets them off in your area.

When and where can fireworks be purchased?

According to Dorset Council, fireworks can be purchased from most shops during these times: 

  • The first day of the Chinese New Year and 3 days immediately before it
  • The day of Diwali and the 3 days immediately before it
  • From the October 15 to November 10 
  • from December 26 to December 31

If you wish to store between 5kg and 2,000kg (Net Explosive Quantity NEQ) of fireworks, you will require an explosive licence from the council.

You must also be over the age of 18 to purchase them. 

Where can you set fireworks off? Where are you not allowed?

Members of the public must only legally purchase the types that are for private use.

This is with the expectation that you are using them for a private display within your own property.

Setting them off in the street or in public areas like parks is strictly prohibited unless you have a specific permit from the council.

What are the punishments for misusing fireworks?

You can be fined up to £5,000 and imprisoned for up to six months for selling or using fireworks illegally.

Meanwhile, on-the-spot fines will cost you £90.

Additionally, if you were to use fireworks illegally and damage someone else's property there is the chance they could bring a civil case against you.

What can you do if someone is setting off fireworks on your street?

Setting off fireworks in the street is a crime and can also pose a fire risk, so you can report any activity to both the police and the fire service.

However, like other issues involving noise nuisance, you can also report the issue to your council's environmental health team.