Cambridge

Hooligans let off fireworks in central Cambridge – and this shaken couple won’t stand for it

A Cambridge couple are taking a stand against hooligans who set off fireworks in public places in the lead up to Bonfire Night.

Colette and Thomas Willers were heading back from Cambridge city centre on Saturday (October 13) when they were confronted by two men in their 20s setting off dozens of fireworks in the Elizabeth Way underpass.

The incident left Colette, 35, so shaken she says she had to cut short their shopping trip and is reluctant to attend any Guy Fawkes celebrations this year.

She said: "We were coming back from town after having lunch on Saturday and were walking through the underpass and we saw two guys.

(Image: Cambridge News)

"They had just lit rockets and bangers and they were going off… I was so terrified I pushed Thomas to safety.

"There were around 100 fireworks, enough that someone could have been blinded or scarred.

"I was upset. Why would you do that when anyone could be walking past? There could have been children there."

"Luckily we legged it out."

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Should there be tougher punishments for people who set off fireworks in the street?

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Absolutely. It's the same every year, it scares me, my family and pets, and I'm sick of it. No, it's just a bit of fun.

Since the incident Colette says she has been feeling anxious about going out in case she encounters more fireworks being set off.

"I was really scared for Thomas and others. My anxiety is now off the scale. I don't understand people; how it is fun scaring people? It is totally antisocial behaviour.

"If you are going to do it, do it in your own back garden.

Midsummer Common Fireworks 2017. Picture: David Johnson

"I don't want to go to fireworks night and that's sad because anyone should feel they can go to it."

Under UK law you it is illegal to set off or throw fireworks, including sparklers, in the street or other public places.

It is an offence for anyone under the age of 18 to possess fireworks in public places and an offence for anyone, other than a firework professional, to possess professional display fireworks.

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Celebrate autumn

Police have the power to issue fixed penalty notices to those under the age of 18 caught with fireworks in a public place.

You also must not set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am, except for Bonfire Night, when the cut off is midnight, New Years Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year, when the cut off is 1am.

Thousands turned out to watch the show

The sale of fireworks is also restricted to those over 18, between October 15 to November 10.

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire Police said: "We were called at 2.21pm on Saturday (13 October) with reports of two men setting off fireworks in an underpass near Elizabeth Way in Cambridge.

"They were seen leaving the area in the direction of the river."

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Nobody is believed to have been injured, however others are less lucky.

Every year, the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) is called to patients who have suffered firework or bonfire-related burns or injuries.

Statistics from the NHS showed that 4,506 people visited accident and emergency from 2014 to 2015 for firework-related injuries.

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