Teens undercover in fireworks raids
Retailers face Guy Fawkes crackdownMARYKE PENMAN
Undercover teenagers will be sent out by police to try to buy fireworks illegally this Guy Fawkes in a crackdown on retailers.
Waitemata road policing manager Mark Fergus said young people aged under the legal age of 18 would be used in ''control purchase operations'' over the fireworks sale period from November 2 to 5.
Police have also announced a complete ban on the use of fireworks at Cheltenham Beach in Devonport.
Fergus said there had been increasing disorder in beachside areas over the past three years, particularly in Cheltenham Beach and the East Coast Bays.
''Many residents come to us fearful for their safety and their property around Guy Fawkes.''
Police hope to prevent injuries to bystanders, damaged homes and general disorderly conduct.
''It comes from the combination of youth, alcohol and fireworks,'' he said.
''We want residents of Cheltenham to have a quiet, peaceful and family-friendly time. That's why this year we are asking them to be patient. By enforcing this ban we are giving the beach back to the community,'' he said.
An increased police presence is also hoped to alleviate the disruption to neighbourhoods seen in the past.
Residents are being asked to monitor social media sites like Facebook for clues on potential parties and gatherings that could go awry, he said.
''We are not here to be the fun police. The message is we don't want youths making poor decisions that impact on their neighbours and on their own futures.
''Most are good kids but there just seems to be a touch point for them on Guy Fawkes. They live in the moment and don't think that they could be ruining their career and travel options.''
Past arrests have included people aged 16 to 21 charged with disorderly conduct endangering the public and injuring with reckless disregard.
Some explosives related charges have been laid when young people have attempted to let off home-made fireworks like pipe bombs.
''Our focus is on prevention. We want fireworks and liquor retailers to be extra vigilant at this time and for parents to play their part."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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