Off to a bang: Battle to combat anti-social behaviour and illegal firework sales during bonfire season in Trafford

By Georgina Stubbs

The battle to reduce anti-social behaviour and underage firework sales across Trafford has got off with a bang through Operation Treacle.

The campaign is now in its fifth year and aims to prevent and protect against criminal damage and reduce incidents and injuries across Manchester during the bonfire period.

Success of the operation can be seen in Trafford’s Trading Standards checks for underage sales conducted across the borough, since April 2010, out of 27 attempts made only two resulted in sales.

Executive Councillor Johnathan Coupe said: “Over recent years Trafford has seen significant reductions in the number of incidents of nuisance and anti-social behaviour involving fireworks.”

Those found to be guilty of underage sales in the borough face a fine of up to £5,000 and potentially six months imprisonment.

Throughout the bonfire period Trafford neighbourhood officers will also be patrolling hotspot areas to keep people safe and will be visiting retailers to ensure that they are selling fireworks responsibly.

Cllr Coupe added: “With renewed support from all involved, including the retail trade, the treacle partners and the wider community, this welcomed trend will continue this season.”

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Peter O’Reilly said: “As Bonfire Night approaches we want everyone to enjoy it safely and we are working with partners to make that happen – so there are treacle teams in every area of Greater Manchester.”

In a bid to ensure legal sellers are complying with regulations, Assistant Chief Officer, Peter O’Reilly added that Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue fire protection officers will be visiting premises.

Chief Superintendent Mark Roberts, of Greater Manchester Police’s Trafford Division, said: “Bonfire Night should be an enjoyable time for all and our officers will be out and about in communities ensuring that everybody has a safe time.

“My advice to parents is to make sure they know where their child is at all times and that they are behaving responsibly.”

The council said in a statement that Trafford’s young trouble makers could land themselves with an £80 fine if they are under-18 and found in possession of a firework.

The council are keen to receive information about anyone suspected of selling fireworks to those under the age of 18, or those who are supplying illegal fireworks such as bangers.

Residents can contact Trading Standards on 0161 912 1377 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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