Saturday, 24 October 2009

Scarlets back Halloween 'nice guy' campaign

THE Scarlets are urging Carmarthenshire residents to ‘Be a Nice Guy’ this Halloween and Bonfire Night.

They are supporting Carmarthenshire’s Community Safety Partnership's initiative to cut ghoulish behaviour and help young and old stay safe.

This time of year is one of the busiest for the police and the fire service with parties, fireworks, bonfires and trick-or-treating in the streets.

People are being encouraged to have fun but to stay safe and not let celebrations get out of hand.

As a result, a number of activities are taking place in the lead-up to celebrations as part of an all Wales multi-agency campaign called Operation Be a Nice Guy.

Shops and supermarkets throughout the county are being asked not to sell eggs and flour to young people in the lead-up to October 31.

Posters have also been produced for householders to display in their windows to say whether they welcome trick or treaters.

The posters will be available from police stations throughout Carmarthenshire as well as the council’s customer service centres and will be distributed to community groups by Neighbourhood Policing Teams.

The posters can also be downloaded from the council’s website

Police will be stepping up patrols during the two-week period and confiscating any alcohol, fireworks, eggs and flour from young people.

They will also be visiting licensed premises in a bid to stamp out underage drinking and working with the council’s trading standards to clamp down on shops selling fireworks to young people.

Shopkeepers caught selling fireworks can be prosecuted, facing fines of up to £5,000 and/or six months imprisonment.

Parents are being urged to make sure they know where their children are and what they are doing and to encourage them to attend organised events such as Halloween discos and public fireworks displays.

Neighbourhood policing teams and police school liaison officers will also be visiting schools to remind youngsters about the effect their behaviour can have on the elderly and vulnerable in the community.

Be a Nice Guy was launched at Parc Y Scarlets with Scarlets stars Phil John and Matthew Rees.

British Lions and Scarlets star Matthew Rees said: “Phil John and I are happy to lend our support to this important campaign and we’d urge the youngsters to have a great time but to make sure they stay safe.

“We totally support what the partnership is doing to highlight the importance of playing safe at Halloween and Bonfire Night, while these big events are great fun, it is important everyone enjoys them without causing any danger to themselves or others.”

Members of Carmarthenshire’s Youth Council also attended the launch as they have been involved with the action group set up to plan this year’s campaign.

Partnership chair Mark James said: “While Halloween and Bonfire Night can undoubtedly be a great deal of fun for some, it is often a particularly distressing time of year for our more vulnerable community members, especially the elderly.

“With this in mind we are urging trick or treaters to think carefully about which doors they knock on this Halloween, and if they see these posters in the windows to please take notice of them.

“This county wide multi-agency approach, also part of an all-Wales initiative, is an opportunity to work with and educate shopkeepers and young people about the consequences of firework misuse and anti-social behaviour.”

Last year there was a 13 per cent reduction in anti-social behaviour calls and a 41 per cent decrease in alcohol-related violent crime during the two-week period between October 25 and November 5.

Community Safety Inspector Tony Ward added: “This should be an enjoyable time of year, however neighbourhoods can find themselves plagued by noise, criminal damage to property and general nuisance.

“The message we are sending out is for trick or treaters not to vandalise anything or throw things like eggs and flour. Not only can this can cause a great deal of damage and misery, but it could be classed as criminal damage or even assault and a night of ‘fun’ could end up in trouble with the police.

“The reckless use of fireworks is a serious issue and used incorrectly can cause serious injury. I would urge people, particularly youngsters, to consider others during this period and to stay safe.”

The posters for householders are also available in Braille, call Carmarthenshire Direct on 01267 234567.

  • Always buy fireworks that conform to British Standards. They should have BS 7114 written on the side of the box.
  • It is illegal to set off fireworks after 11pm and for anyone under 18 to be in possession of a firework.
  • Keep fireworks in a closed box. Follow the instructions on each firework, light at arm’s length, and stand well back,
  • Never go near a firework that has been lit. Even if it hasn’t gone off, it could still explode.
  • Never put fireworks in your pocket or throw them.
  • Always supervise children around fireworks.
  • Keep pets indoors.
  • Don’t drink alcohol if setting off fireworks.


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