A blind woman and her guide dog were left upset and distressed after youths threw fireworks at them in a Yorkshire suburb.
The woman, in her fifties, was uninjured in the attack, but was left upset and shaken.
Police were called to Moorland Road in the Hyde Park area of Leeds to the victim, who was coming out of the Woodhouse Moor park onto Moorland Road when the incident happened at around 8pm on Tuesday, October 30.
Neither the victim or her dog were struck by the items, but she was distressed by the incident and the guide dog attempted to run off.
Officers are looking for three to four youths, as well as two women who helped the victim, who they believe could hold valuable information about the attack.
West Yorkshire Police statement:
"Shortly before 8pm on October 30, police were contacted by a blind woman who reported having fireworks thrown towards her by youths in Moorland Road, Hyde Park.
"The victim, who is aged in her fifties, was with her guide dog and was coming out of the Woodhouse Moor park onto Moorland Road when the incident happened.
"Neither she nor her dog were struck by the items and both were uninjured, but she was left upset and distressed. The dog was startled and had tried to run off.
"She told officers it sounded like three to four youths were involved and that they had been about 20 metres away on the path that runs parallel to Moorland Road, near to the junction with St John’s Avenue.
"Two women came to her aid and helped her to safety. Officers are keen to trace those women as potential witnesses to the incident.
"Officers are checking CCTV in the area and would like to hear from anyone who witnessed the incident or who has any information that could assist the investigation.
"Anyone with information is asked to contact the Leeds North West Neighbourhood Policing Team via 101 quoting crime reference 13180544785 or call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously via 101."
What is the law on buying fireworks and when can I buy them?
You have to be over 18 to purchase fireworks in the UK and, theoretically, you can buy them all year round from a licensed seller.
However, there are two types of licenses for anyone selling fireworks – long-term and short-term licenses.
Most retailers such as supermarkets and newsagents have a short-term license which enables them to sell fireworks only at certain times of the year, for example between 15 October and 10 November for bonfire celebrations and Halloween, between 26 and 31 December for Christmas and New Year, and three days before Chinese New Year and Diwali.
Fireworks are divided into categories, and for domestic displays consumers can buy category three fireworks.
If you want to set off fireworks for a private event such as a party or wedding, you can buy them from a registered seller with an all-year or long-term license.
If you are running a professional display of fireworks, you will get access to bigger and louder (category four and five) fireworks.
It is important to note that you have a duty of care to ensure the safety of your neighbours and visitors if you have your own firework display.
Check the online guidelines of the RoSPA (Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents) to ensure that you are well informed with the necessary precautions to take.
All fireworks come with instructions and any negligence – such as setting them off in an inappropriate environment or against the published instructions – resulting in injury to someone or damage to property could make you liable for a civil claim.
Is there a legal curfew?
Generally, fireworks on private property may be set off all year round between 7am and 11pm. However, at certain times of the year this curfew is extended – to midnight on Guy Fawkes Night and 1am on New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year and Diwali.
It is important to note that local by-laws may affect these curfews, so it is worth checking with your local authority whether there are any extra limitations.
What happens if you break the law?
Under the Firework Act of 2003, if you break the law around firework use you can receive a prison sentence of up to six months or a fine up to £5,000.
Breaching of the act constitutes a criminal offence – however, if you cause any damage to property or injury to someone, you may be liable for a civil offence and could be sued for negligence.