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Newington company Hardy and Hardy Ltd fined for storing fireworks dangerously in Maidstone and Sittingbourne

By Natalie Tipping

An unlicensed company which stored fireworks in a dangerous manner has been fined £12,000.

Medway magistrates were told last year while trading as Sparkles Fireworks, Hardy and Hardy Ltd, based in High Street, Newington, set up shop at a garden centre in Maidstone, despite not being registered.

Fireworks on the shop floor were being stored with bottles of bio ethanol fuel, and some of those in the storeroom were loose on a work bench or in open boxes.

There are a number of displays taking place across the November 5 weekend

The company owned a container in a car park in Sittingbourne that was licensed for storage of 25kg net explosive content (NEC) of larger, more powerful fireworks.

The court heard when KCC Trading Standards opened the container it contained 30kg of NEC, with fireworks again strewn around in a manner not complying with the licence.

A van parked nearby contained just under 45kg of NEC - made up of normal garden fireworks and the more powerful type. Vehicles are not permitted to contain fireworks except when transporting them.

Magistrates ruled the company fell short of the appropriate standards. Taking into account the sentencing guidelines, the early guilty plea, and that the company had no previous convictions, the company was fined and ordered to pay prosecution costs.

James Whiddett, KCC Trading Standards operations manager, said: “Our officers will always try to work with businesses to help them trade safely and within the requirements of the legislation.

“In this case the advice was not followed by the company, and our inspections found issues that could put employees and customers at an unacceptable risk.

“Fireworks are one of the most dangerous products retailers handle, which is why our officers conduct inspections to ensure the safety of retailers and consumers. This sentence by the court reflects the serious nature of the offences.”

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