Bonfire night

Police are responsible for enforcing regulations about the use and possession of fireworks.

If you are planning a fireworks event, please comply with the firework regulations. Please also inform your neighbours so that they can take precautionary action, such as keeping their pets indoors.

It is illegal to:

  • Have or use adult fireworks if you’re under the age of 18. Adult fireworks are any firework except for a cap, cracker snap, novelty match, party popper, serpent, sparkler or throw-down.
  • Set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am. There are different arrangements for special occasions like Guy Fawkes Night (midnight), Diwali, New Year’s Eve and Chinese New Year (1am).
  • Have professional fireworks without a licence.
  • Sell fireworks without a licence.

Please make sure that your children do not have access to fireworks and that they act responsibly with sparklers.

Having your own Bonfire Night party or celebrating with family and friends can be great fun, but by far the safest way to enjoy these seasonal activities is to attend a professionally organised event. If, however, you are holding your own fireworks party, please don't put your family and friends at risk.

Always remember to follow the Firework Code:

  • Only buy fireworks marked BS 7114.
  • Don’t drink alcohol if setting off fireworks.
  • Keep fireworks in a closed box.
  • Follow the instructions on each firework.
  • Light them at arm’s length, using a taper.
  • Stand well back.
  • Never go near a firework that has been lit. Even if it hasn’t gone off, it could still explode.
  • Never put fireworks in your pocket or throw them.
  • Always supervise children around fireworks.
  • Light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves.
  • Never give sparklers to a child under five.
  • Keep pets indoors.

Thames Valley Police has produced a video which shows the consequences of what happens when someone gets a nasty 'trick' when a firework is posted through their door.

View 'Bonfire Night - Go with a bang' video

 Bonfire Night - Go with a bang

Video transcript

  • Bonfire Night - Go with a bang video transcript

    In the video, trick-or-treaters decide to see what happens when they light a firework and post it into their victim's house. Find out what one ex-prankster thinks of their choice.

    A small group of youths is outside a house.

    Resident shuts his front door.

    Youth 1: So what we gonna do now guys?

    Youth 2 (holding a firework): How about we stick this through his letterbox?

    Youth 1: I dare you. Go on.

    Youth 2 places it in the letterbox and lights the fuse. All run away.

    Text on screen:

    ...would anyone really do that?

    Photographs of a burnt house.

    Youth: I was 16 years old at the time, I was in the garden at the time discussing who was going to do it. He said: 'You light it', I said: 'No', he said: 'You've got the lighter'. Under peer pressure I buckled and lit the firework, he put it in the letterbox and we all ran. Then we saw the smoke coming out of the house and we got scared even more. So we ran, heard the fire engines and we all went home.

    The next couple of days the police came round, arrested us and it went to court. I was in the cells for three days. I was in court. I got a £5,000 fine, a six-month curfew. I had to be in at 9pm every day. I got 300 hours community service. It was a very big price to pay for something that was very silly. I didn't think about the consequences at all. My adrenaline was going a bit. I expected the firework to go bang inside the house, wake the residents up, give them a shock. It went to totally the opposite way, setting fire to the house and nearly burning the whole house down.

    If you think you're too old to be going out trick-or-treating, getting sweets, don't bother going out. Stay at home, or find something else better to do. There's no point throwing eggs at people's houses, letting fireworks off, it's a silly thing to do. Stay at home.

    Click your trick (there are three options to choose from):

    Blow this joint

    Resident shuts his front door.

    Youth 1: So what we doing now guys?

    Youth 2: Calm down guys. Let's forget this guy and go and find another house down the road.

    Text on screen:

    Good choice! ... plenty of sweets at number 20.

    Beat it

    Resident shuts his front door.

    Youth 1:So what we doing now guys?

    Youth 2 (holding an egg): Look what I've got. Come on, let's bake this guy a cake.

    The youths throw eggs, smashing windows, before running off.

    Text on screen:

    Bad idea! ... fancy being nicked for criminal damage?

    Go with a bang

    Resident shuts his door.

    Youth 1: So what we gonna do now guys?

    Youth 2 (holding a firework): How about we stick this through his letterbox?

    Youth 1: I dare you. Go on.

    Youth 2 places it in the letterbox and lights the fuse. All run away.

    Text on screen:

    ...would anyone really do that?

    Photographs of a burnt house.

    Youth: I was 16 years old at the time, I was in the garden at the time discussing who was going to do it. He said: 'You light it', I said: 'No', he said: 'You've got the lighter'. Under peer pressure I buckled and lit the firework, he put it in the letterbox and we all ran. Then we saw the smoke coming out of the house and we got scared even more. So we ran, heard the fire engines and we all went home.

    The next couple of days the police came round, arrested us and it went to court. I was in the cells for three days. I was in court. I got a £5,000 fine, a six-month curfew. I had to be in at 9pm every day. I got 300 hours community service. It was a very big price to pay for something that was very silly. I didn't think about the consequences at all. My adrenaline was going a bit. I expected the firework to go bang inside the house, wake the residents up, give them a shock. It went to totally the opposite way, setting fire to the house and nearly burning the whole house down.

    If you think you're too old to be going out trick-or-treating, getting sweets, don't bother going out. Stay at home, or find something else better to do. There's no point throwing eggs at people's houses, letting fireworks off, it's a silly thing to do. Stay at home.

    Text on screen:

    Bad idea! ... fancy being nicked for criminal damage?