Limavady’s top cop, Sam Donaldson is appealing for parents, youth and community leaders to help make this year’s Halloween festivities safe and fun.
Area Commander, Chief Inspector Donaldson said the weeks prior to and after Halloween are becoming an increasingly busy time of the year for police.
“We continually receive reports of criminal damage, anti-social behaviour and the misuse of fireworks.
“We want to make it clear that we take Halloween seriously and anyone caught breaking the law will be dealt with robustly,” he said.
“I would ask parents to make sure they know the whereabouts of their children and to make sure that they are not engaging in any criminal activity or criminal damage to property.””
Individuals are also being urged to pay close attention to their own personal safety, if they intend to be in the vicinity of fireworks, sparklers or bonfires.
“Fireworks contain explosive, flammable substances, which can cause serious injury to an individual or damage to property.
“Children using sparklers should also be closely supervised,” said Chief Insp. Donaldson, who explained the measures that are being taken to ensure incidents of criminal damage don’t escalate during the Halloween period.
“High visibility patrols will be operating in hotspot areas to prevent crimes and anti-social behaviour occurring.
“What might seem like a prank to some young people may actually amount to carrying out an assault or causing criminal damage.
“I would ask any person who is involved in this type of activity to stop and think about the effect your actions are having on your neighbours and the more vulnerable people in your community,” he said.
“Setting off fireworks may seem like a harmless activity to you but, not only are you taking risks with your own safety, you are disturbing people in the local community and frightening pets.
“I cannot stress enough how dangerous it is to use fireworks which have not been approved in line with health and safety regulations. We do not want to see anyone injured or maimed.”
Chief Insp. Donaldson revealed police will be visiting shops and licensed firework retailers to remind them of the legislation.
Police also intend to visit schools in the area to talk to kids about the dangers involved.
“Fireworks should only ever be purchased from reputable licensed dealers, not from market stalls or individuals selling door-to-door.
These fireworks may not be British Standard approved and could be extremely dangerous,” he said.
“We hope that with the support of parents, schools and local community groups we can work to help make Halloween safe and enjoyable for everyone.””
Further information on the law of fireworks and advice on using fireworks safely can be found at: www.nidirect.gov.uk/fireworks