Police concerned over mail-order fireworks

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Dutch police are seriously concerned over a growing trend of shipping heavy illegal fireworks by mail.

A number of people in the provinces of Noord Brabant, Zuid-Holland and Drenthe were arrested in the past few 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 importing illegal fireworks more difficult. Ordering online not only reduces the chances of getting caught, but is also cheaper.

Fireworks expert Ed de Jong from national research institute TNO says the trade in fireworks via the mail is extremely dangerous. He warns that the fireworks, which are often shipped from Poland, are extremely powerful. He says that 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. 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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