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Bedale big bang sparks police warning

[Tuesday 24 October 2006]

AN explosion that rocked the usually peaceful Yorkshire Dales town of Bedale has prompted officers from North Yorkshire Police to issue a stark reminder in the run up to bonfire night.

bedale firework
PC Taylforth with the giant firework set off in Bedale

The force is warning that its officers are ready to issue fixed penalty fines to those who misuse fireworks after Bedale residents were shaken by a loud explosion on Friday night.

Next morning a resident took the mammoth firework, labelled "The Invasion of the Martians", into Bedale Police Station. The mortar-like firework is around 3ft high and has a 6in mouth.

PC Peter Taylforth said: "All fireworks have the ability to injure, but monsters like this only have a place at organised events, under proper supervision. Who ever set this thing off not only disturbed half the town, but must have placed themselves in considerable danger."

With Mischief Night and Bonfire Night imminent the force is adamant that what it calls "yobbish firework misbehaviour" will not be tolerated - and reminding the public that officers have had their powers extended - they can now issue £80 Fixed Penalty Notices to people setting off fireworks late at night, throwing fireworks, youngsters caught with fireworks, or adults found with high-powered display fireworks.

Assistant Chief Constable David Collins added: "There are now plenty of pieces of legislation and police powers around this subject, but really we are talking about nothing more complicated than plain commonsense. We all know when someone is behaving dangerously or anti-socially with a firework, and we all know it is wrong.

We all know when someone is behaving dangerously or anti-socially with a firework, and we all know it is wrong

David Collins - Assistant Chief Constable, NYP

"No-one will be more pleased than me if this force gets through Mischief Night and Bonfire Night without a single person getting into trouble or - even more importantly - without anyone getting hurt."

And Mr Collins reminded potential hooligans that his officers do not regard Mischief Night (4 November) as a night of licence for yobs.

"We will have extra officers out on patrol, and we will be in no mood to accept feeble excuses of 'tradition' from louts who cause damage, injury or fear in the name of 'mischief'."

Feedback received on this subject:

What the hell is mischief night? Presumalby another imported American 'cultural' event.

Steve Harris - Long Preston, North Yorkshire

I was brought up in Long Preston, so I find it amazing that Steve Harris does not know what mischief night is. It is the night before Bonfire Night, presumably a commemoration of the mischief that was wrought on that night.

As children in the sixties we used to get up to mischief, swapping the gates from one house to another in Church Street, turning the road signs around to point in the wrong direction, tying the doors together on the Primary School so that the Women at the WI meeting inside couldn't get out, knocking on doors and running away, and suchlike.

Unlike Trick and Treats it is not an American Import, but very much homegrown.

The whole point is that it is supposed to be mischief, rather than actions that cause injury to people or property. As such, people used to turn a blind eye to such actions on mischief night. Unfortunately it has changed in recent years and stupid activities now take place.

David Grimoldby - Saltburn

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