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Fireworks fury

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By Ben Murray
Annan and Eskdale
Fireworks fury

RESIDENTS in Gretna and the surrounding area are in uproar after a fortnight of firework frustrations.

They are fed up of youths gathering at night to cause noise and property damage with fireworks.

Stormont Field has been identified as one of the hotspots, with the nuisance behaviour said to start around midnight, with constant loud bangs being reported into the early hours.

Many residents locally have shared their frustrations with the Annandale Observer.

Annie Sandell said: “My horse was spooked by the fireworks this week and got trapped between some barbed wire and external fencing, which ripped up his chest quite badly.

“My dog is petrified too, and after 11 pm launching fireworks is unacceptable and illegal, especially for those with young children.”

Les Wills said: “One of my dogs is petrified every night due to the fireworks, and the rubbish left behind on the shore at Stormont Farm is as bad as fly tipping.”

Julia Kitchener said: “I just don’t understand why people say ‘it’s only for a week’. As soon as fireworks become available all you hear is the constant banging of them.

“The animals are terrified, my dog shakes and hides. Fireworks should only be available for sale for organised displays.

“The kids that are letting them off think it’s funny, but it’s not. They are causing too much distress for everyone late at night, from people sleeping to the wild animals.

“Please stop with the fireworks. Enough is enough.”

The issue was discussed at this week’s meeting of Springfield and Gretna Green Community Council, where members expressed their concerns at the escalating situation. And they heard that fireworks have even been

detonated in the tunnel at the railway station, causing damage to the lights and potential structural damage too.

Meanwhile, Gordon Davidson, of neighbouring Gretna and Rigg Community Council, said: “I have received countless messages from local residents stating that the firework issue needs to be sorted out.

“I have spoken with members of Police Scotland, and they are doing everything that they can to deal with the issue. While the police cannot be everywhere at once and are spread thin, it is important to appreciate what they do for us.

“With how damaging fireworks can be for dog owners, elderly people, those afflicted with PTSD and many wild animals in the area, using fireworks after 11 pm is not just unacceptable, but illegal.”

Meanwhile, Police Scotland have launched Operation Moonbeam in response to the high rate of firework criminality nationwide.

It will run over Halloween and Bonfire Night and will see officers crack down on underage purchases and carrying out stop and searches for anyone suspected to be in possession of pyrotechnics in a public place.

Residents in Gretna, and anywhere else affected, are being urged to contact Police Scotland via 101 if non-urgent and 999 in an emergency with any firework complaints or concerns.

Fireworks, including sparklers, are available to purchase from registered sellers for private use from October 15 to November 10.


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