Halloween and Bonfire night anti-social behaviour is being targeted by the Greater Manchester wide ‘Operation Treacle’, which returns this autumn.
The multi-agency initiative is supported by Greater Manchester Police (GMP), Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS), Victim Support and all ten Manchester councils.
The scheme focuses on areas with histories of anti-social behaviour relating to the misuse of fireworks and was considered a great success in 2010.
Manchester City Council's Deputy Leader, Jim Battle, said: “Residents told us last year they saw the lowest number of incidents of firework nuisance and rogue sales in Manchester.”
Despite this success, there were still 77 firework-related incidents in October and 40 in November in Greater Manchester last year, many of which resulted in serious injuries.
One famous Manchester resident who was lucky to avoid such an injury this month is Mario Balotelli, after a firework let off inside his bathroom set fire to his house.
The Manchester City striker was not fined for the incident and has since lent his support to Operation Treacle and emphasised the risks posed by fireworks.
Balotelli said: “They can be very dangerous if they are not used in the right way. People should follow the firework code.”
Deputy County Fire Officer, Jim Owen, said: “Sadly, every year we see examples of how dangerous fireworks can be if misused. After all, they are explosives.”
Operation Treacle’s partners are enforcing safety messages and advise Manchester residents to attend public displays in order to avoid such misuse.
However, they have made it clear that they are also targeting the crime caused by ‘mischief week’ and those who choose to ignore their guidance will be punished.
Kevin Anderson, Wigan Council’s Cabinet Champion for Neighbourhoods, said: “Operation Treacle pulls agencies together and takes a firm carrot and stick approach to anti-social behaviour.
His comments echoes those made by Superintendent Andrea Jones from GMP Wigan Division, who also emphasises the firm approach being taken towards anti-social behaviour.
She said: “We see a spike in anti-social behaviour during this period. Criminal damage and anti-social behaviour cause distress, expense and inconvenience to communities, and we will not tolerate it.”
Partners in the scheme also emphasise that Operation Treacle is not simply aimed at addressing the behaviour of a small minority of young people, but the crimes of adults too.
Fly tipping and illegal bonfires are a focus, as are more serious incidents such as theft and the sale of fireworks to minors.
North Manchester Police have declared that those who sell fireworks illegally could face a £5,000 fine and six months in prison.
The announcement followed the robbery of a large number of fireworks at a warehouse in Strangeways early on Wednesday 19, for which there have now been some arrests.
Manchester City Council encourages residents to attend any of the following bonfires and fireworks displays taking place across the city.
Debdale Park - Friday 29 October, starting 7.30pm
Crumpsall Park- Wednesday 3 November, 6 - 8pm
Cringle Park - Monday 1 November, 6 - 9pm
Philips Park - Wednesday 3 November, - 5.30 - 7.30pm - Meet at Eastlands car park 2
Brookdale Park - Tuesday 2 November, 6 - 8pm
Boggart Hole Clough - Thursday 4 November, 5.30 8.30pm
Heaton Park - Friday 5 November, from 7.30pm - Meet at Papal fields
Platt Fields Park- Friday 5 November, from 7.30pm - Meet at the main show field
Wythenshawe Park- Friday 5 November, from 7.30pm