A man who dangerously stored 12.8 tonnes of fireworks has been fined.

Steven McLaren, 52, of Queen Street in Fyfield, and his business ITC Southeast Ltd, were charged with offences under health and safety laws relating to the storage of explosives.

The fireworks were kept in four containers and a warehouse at Brickfield House in High Road, Thornwood.

Mr McLaren and ITC Southeast Ltd pleaded guilty to the charges at Colchester Magistrates’ Court on July 11.

Magistrates fined Mr McLaren £26,000 and ITC Southeast Ltd £20,000.

He and the business were ordered to pay £9,356.40 costs and a £120 victim surcharge each.

Roger Walters, Essex County Council cabinet member for trading standards, said: “This large quantity of fireworks was a danger to other businesses, nearby residents and firefighters.

 “If  there had been a fire on the site, there could have been a death or serious injury due to inadequate signage and the hazardous storage of the fireworks.

 “Traders selling fireworks must store them in accordance with health and safety legislation and regulations.

“These laws are in place to protect the general public and firefighters from horrific injuries, many potentially fatal, which firework explosions can cause.

“This case shows that Essex Trading Standards will not tolerate this sort of activity.”

Mr McLaren said he had so many fireworks in storage because the previous season had been poor and left over stock had accumulated on site.

There was also a problem with a significant number of rockets that had been returned as faulty.