Mail-order fireworks worry Dutch police

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Dutch police are seriously concerned about the growth in the quantity of illegal and powerful fireworks being sent through the post.

A number of people in the provinces of North Brabant, South Holland and Drenthe have been arrested in recent weeks after either sending or receiving shipments of fireworks through the mail.

Most of the illegal fireworks are ordered online because increased inspections have made it more difficult to import illegal fireworks for resale within the Netherlands. Ordering online not only reduces the chances of getting caught, it is also cheaper.

Fireworks expert Ed de Jong from the TNO national research institute says sending these explosives via the mail is extremely dangerous. He warns that the fireworks, which are often shipped from Poland, are extremely powerful. He says some firecrackers are as powerful as hand grenades.

These fireworks are also illegal in Poland. “The sellers argue their products are intended for the professional market, but there are not really all that many professionals,” Mr De Jong says. “I believe that the percentage of their products that actually ends up in the hands of professionals is close to zero.”

Mr De Jong admits that his warning may also alert more people to the possibility of buying fireworks via the internet, but argues that “this is already happening anyway. It's no longer possible to keep it under wraps, so we think it’s better to warn people about the dangers.”

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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