Fireworks cache seized

2011-10-13 00:00

POLICE swooped on a warehouse in Howick yesterday and seized nearly R1 million worth of stolen fireworks that had pinched in August while a truck delivering them was hijacked.

According to police sources, who declined to be named as they were not authorised to speak to the media, the Pietermaritzburg organised crime unit (Hawks) received information and were led to the Midlands Business Estate in Howick where they found the consignment stashed in the original boxes.

Police from Pietermaritzburg and Howick were sweating while loading more than 200 boxes of fireworks into a truck to be kept in a secure place as evidence.

Some of the fireworks in the boxes included “soccer ball crackers”, “crackling balls”, “bird eggs”, “magical shot” and “colour thunder”.

A source close to the case said the truck carrying the cargo was on its way to Gauteng when it was hijacked some time in August. It was recovered the same month, minus the cargo.

The driver, who is a foreign national, was never found and it is suspected that there is more than one foreign national involved in the hijack.

Provincial police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker told The Witness that the quantity of boxes is not yet known because they filled an entire container and the police are still counting them.

He said that the consignment recovered in Howick is estimated to be worth about R900 000.

He said that police were alerted about the consignment after an intensive investigation by members of PMB organised crime Unit.

“No arrests, suspects still at large.

“We cannot give out more details as we are still on the trail of the suspects,” said Naicker.

The Witness has been reliably informed that dealers need a licence to keep up to 1 000 kilograms of fireworks. Holding larger stocks of fireworks is illegal and can lead to arrest.

The licence is issued by the chief inspector of explosives in Pretoria and before it is issued a security clearance is performed.

A dealer with a permit is required to store this amount of fireworks away from residential areas because it poses a risk of explosion.

Shopkeepers are permitted to keep not more than 200 kilograms of fireworks and they must have a fireworks magazine.

• thandom@witness.co.za; chris.ndaliso@witness.co.za

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