Teen, 15, buys fireworks from The Floor Store in South Croydon with no questions asked
A trader who stored fireworks dangerously and sold them to an under-age shopper has been fined more than £4,000.
Tony Copland, who owns a flooring business with branches in South Croydon and Sutton, pleaded guilty to 16 charges relating to the sale and storage of fireworks when he appeared at Croydon Magistrates' Court last week.
Last November, officers from Croydon trading standards carried out a test purchase exercise in which a 15-year-old volunteer was sold a £20 box of fireworks by a member of staff at The Floor Store in Brighton Road, South Croydon, before handing them over to officers.
When questioned Copland claimed he did not know who the seller was and that he was covering at the shop following a theft, but as officers questioned him they noticed open boxes of live fireworks leaning against the wall.
Other visits to Copland's shops in Limpsfield Road, Sanderstead and one in Sutton revealed more fireworks stored unsafely in breach of the law, putting customers, staff and local residents at risk.
Appearing at the court on September 3, Copland admitted 16 offences: eight as a company and eight as the company's director.
Both he and the company were fined £100 each for each offence, totalling £1,600.
He was also personally ordered to pay costs of £2,500 and a £120 victim surcharge and the court also ordered the destruction of all the fireworks seized.
Councillor Simon Hoar, Croydon Council's cabinet member for community safety, said: "It’s the duty of fireworks traders to check the age of anybody trying to make a purchase who they think may be under age.
"It’s worrying that, in this case, a 15-year-old was able to purchase fireworks without question.
"The safe storage of fireworks is a priority for officers, both to protect staff and customers from the risk of explosion and fire.
"Visits are made to all registered sellers to ensure correct and safe storage."
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