New bid to curb the danger and distress of ‘bonfire night’ firework mayhem

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Police in West Lothian are urging people who know about illegal sales of fireworks, or their inappropriate use, to get in touch with “100 per cent” anonymity.

The same message applies to information about anyone causing deliberate fires, recently highlighted by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service as a major hazard during the “bonfire night” period.

A police spokesperson said: “Your computer’s IP addresses are never traced and no-one will ever know you contacted them. For telephone calls, they have no caller line display, no 1471 facility and have never traced a call.

“Call - 0800 555 111. 100 per cent anonymous - always”.

The online report address, meanwhile, is http://ow.ly/81Zu50wXgeN
The call comes at the same time as a Scottish Government review group is considering restrictions on fireworks use, following years of lobbying and protest by people who consider they can impose an unacceptable burden on elderly people and those who have pets.

Of the thousands of responses received almost 90 per cent want to see an outright ban on the sale of fireworks.

Community Safety Minister Ash Denham launched the plan following widespread public support for action to reduce the negative impact of fireworks on communities throughout Scotland.

He said: “The results of both our public consultation and national survey demonstrate overwhelming public support for a change in how fireworks are sold and used in Scotland.

“While legislation on the sale of fireworks is reserved to Westminster, we need a full and frank debate on how fireworks are sold and I will continue to press the UK Government on this issue.

“Our fireworks review group will now consider how best to use the powers at our disposal to drive forward action to reduce the damage caused by fireworks misuse.

“We want to ensure that every community is able to enjoy fireworks without fear of their inappropriate use and I look forward to working closely with communities, key partners and the fireworks industry to achieve this.”

Gilly Mendes Ferreira, Scottish SPCA Head of Education and Policy, said: “For years we have supported tighter restrictions on public use due to the stress and anxiety caused to animals.

“Most calls report animals being injured trying to escape the noise of fireworks, including dogs running onto roads and being hit by oncoming traffic, swans flying into electricity pylons and horses being badly hurt after running through barbed wire fences.

“We will continue to work closely with the Scottish Government to improve animal welfare surrounding the use of fireworks.”

The Scottish Government’s consultation on fireworks ran for 14 weeks and 16,420 responses were received.

It found that 94 per cent want to see tighter controls on the sale of fireworks, and almost the same number want stronger regulations to ensure animals are not caused unnecessary suffering as a result of fireworks misuse.

More than nine in ten feel there should be tighter controls on fireworks use, and 87 per cent would support an outright ban on the sale of fireworks.