Belfast Telegraph

Stash of illegal fireworks found at business premises in the Shankill

Detectives from the Paramilitary Crime Taskforce have discovered a large stash of counterfeit goods and fireworks after carrying out searches at two commercial premises in the Shankill Road area.

These were carried out on Friday with the aim of disrupting paramilitary activity.

No arrests have been made at this time, but the goods and fireworks seized are estimated to be valued in the thousands of pounds.

Speaking about the searches, Detective Inspector White said: "Our enquiries are ongoing and we will continue to focus our attention on those involved in organised criminality and its links to paramilitaries."

These discoveries came a day after police in Armagh uncovered a large stash of illegal fireworks worth £25,000 and a quantity of class B drugs at a property in the Jonesborough area.

Speaking about the seizure, Detective Inspector Gawley said: "It’s important to remember that fireworks are made from explosive material and if misused, can cause serious and life-changing injuries.

"The law clearly states that fireworks - except indoor fireworks and sparklers - must be bought from reputable, licensed dealers who are required to keep sales records.

"Fireworks bought from other sources may not be British Standard approved thus presenting an even bigger risk of injury. It is also illegal to possess, sell, handle or use fireworks if you do not have a licence."

Anyone caught using fireworks in Northern Ireland without a licence can be fined £5,000.

Up until 1996 fireworks were banned in Northern Ireland, but this was lifted following a paramilitary ceasefire.

The ban was reinstated in 2002 after a number of officers were injured during rioting in Belfast.

Anyone with any information about fireworks being used or sold illegally is asked to contact police on the non-emergency number 101 or independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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