Shop keeper from Bangor-on-Dee had more than four-times the legal amount of fireworks in his Wrexham store

Reporter:

Court Reporter

A trader has admitted storing more than four times the legal amount of fireworks in his town centre shop.

Paul Johnson, 55, of Whitchurch Road in Bangor-on-Dee, pleaded guilty to six charges relating to the illegal and unsafe storage of the fireworks over a period around Bonfire Night, last year.

Johnson admitted two charges of contravening health and safety regulations along with two of failing to discharge general health, safety and welfare duty to an employee and two of being a self-employed person failing to discharge general health and safety duty to persons other than employees.

Louise Edwards, prosecuting at Wrexham Magistrates Court, said a routine visit from trading standard officers to Goldilocks Cottage on Henblas Street, in Wrexham, in 2015 raised concerns about how Johnson was storing the fireworks in the shop which usually sold beds and furniture.

Officers found there were no fire extinguishers on the premises and no risk assessment forms had been written and Johnson was subsequently made aware that these were requirements.

Another visit on October 27, 2016, found fireworks were being stored loosely on top of cabinets and a further visit on November 3, 2016, found that recommendations had been “completely ignored” with fireworks kept loosely around the shop and cabinets left unlocked.

On November 4, 2016, fireworks were still being stored loosely and they were subsequently seized.

Johnson blamed staff for the way the fireworks were kept but they said he had asked it to be like that and that they had received no training in how to store or handle them and that no risk assessments had been carried out.

Johnson had applied for an explosive storage licence in 2015 which allowed for 15kg of fireworks to be kept on the premises but an invoice showed that at one point 79kg of fireworks were present in the shop.

Ceri Lewis, defending, said her client was suffering from Alzheimer’s and urged district judge Gwyn Jones to adjourn the case to a later date.

Mr Jones agreed and asked for a pre-sentence report to be prepared ahead of Johnson’s next appearance at Flintshire Magistrates Court at Mold on November 21.

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See full story in the Whitchurch Herald

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