Fireworks sold to kids

Senior Sergeant Andy King
Senior Sergeant Andy King

Fireworks retailers are far more likely to sell to underage customers than liquor outlets, a police sting has found.

Under cover teens, aged between 15 and 17, worked with the Alcohol Harm Reduction team in a sting on North Shore fireworks and alcohol retailers during the Guy Fawkes period.

Police youth and communities prevention manager Senior Sergeant Andy King says the operation was aimed at combating anti-social behaviour caused by underage drinking.

He says the North Shore is particularly rowdy during Guy Fawkes when compared to other areas of Auckland.

Police "control purchase operations" took place over three days in the lead up to Guy Fawkes.

Five out of nine fireworks retailers sold to the under 18 year olds on November 2 and a further two on November 4.

Details of the breaches are sent to the Ministry of Business and Innovation.

Guilty retailers will receive a warning letter and could face fines if found to break the law more than once.

"I would suspect there is a lot more pressure on fireworks retailers given the limited sale period," Mr King says.

In contrast just one out of 27 North Shore liquor retailers failed to ask for identification in the first exercise on October 11.

Two more sold to the under cover teens on November 2, but there were no breaches in the last sting on November 4.

Those who failed received a 24-hour suspension of their liquor licence and the duty manager has also been suspended for 28 days.

North Shore Times