UNOFFICIAL bonfires in and around Chester could be pulled down by council workers before they are lit.
The move is part of efforts to ensure bonfire night celebrations in the district do not end in tragedy.
Cheshire West and Chester Council will be working with partners, including the fire service and police, to remove unofficial bonfires.
Building and lighting bonfires on public open spaces will only be permitted for officially organised events.
Trading standards officers are planning to carry out test purchases in shops to make sure no one under the age of 18 can buy fireworks and retailers are urged to ask for proof of age from anyone who looks younger than 25.
Cllr Lynn Riley, executive member for the community and environment, said: “Bonfire Night should be enjoyable for all our residents, businesses and visitors. However every year across the country many people are injured at unofficial, unsafe celebrations.
“We hope people will visit the officially organised events taking place across the borough where they will be taking part in a safe and enjoyable event.
“We are taking a proactive approach to prevent bonfire problems as soon as possible, in aiming to prevent illegal bonfires from happening. Partners have come together with the help of local people to provide a safe and enjoyable bonfire night for all.”
Cheshire Police and Chester and District Housing Trust are working with the council while Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service will be delivering education in schools and providing extra response resources during the bonfire period.
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service arson reduction manager Colin Heyes said: “We encourage people to attend safe, organised displays and some of these will be listed on our website as these are far more spectacular and entertaining than the displays people set up themselves in gardens, and they have the added benefit of being safer.
“Anyone setting up bonfires on public land should be aware that these bonfires are in fact illegal.”
Anyone who spots an unofficial bonfire should report it to the council by calling 0300 123 7026. The telephone number is available from today until November 6.
l Official bonfire events are planned at the Whitby Sports and Social Club in Ellesmere Port on Friday, November 2, at 7pm (gates open 5.30pm), and at Chester Racecourse on Saturday, November 3, at 7.30pm (gates open at 5pm and children’s display at 6.15pm).
See full story in the Chester Leader