The Hastings Borough Bonfire Society chairman is furious after around £1,100 worth of fireworks set to be used for the bonfire celebrations were stolen.
The society’s warehouse in Rye was broken into last month with various professional, Chinese fireworks taken ahead of the big night on October 15.
Nick Lynas said it is ‘painful’ to have this happen less than two weeks before but the fireworks will go ahead as most of the heavy duty ones were left.
“Everybody puts the time in for free and we are a charity and to have to replace the fireworks we have lost that means we have got about £1,000 less in the pot to make the event the biggest in the south east apart from Lewes,” he said.
“It’s painful. It just means we have to find more money.
“The fireworks are not going to be as fast and furious as we would like with the amazing display that we normally put on but the average person in the street probably won’t notice much difference.
Someone used a disc cutter to break into the licensed storage facility and took mainly cakes and Roman candles designed to be used by trained professionals.
Police said it was most likely a targeted and planned theft which is being investigated but officers warned people not to buy any suspicious fireworks which could be extremely dangerous in the wrong hands.
Mr Lynas said the extra financial cost will reduce the amount the society gives to charity and the cushion for next year.
He believes the thieves took the fireworks they recognised and left the biggest ones but advised against using any of them without proper training.
“It’s a pretty s****y thing to do but it’s like anything that gets stolen, you never believe it’s going to happen to you and the fact that we have professional quality fireworks they are not something you let off in the back garden,” he said.
“They need to be prepared and fired by people who know what they are doing so they don’t damage themselves which they could quite easily do.
“Some of the cakes have a 150m fall out zone so it’s definitely not something you just let off in the back garden as you could endanger the people around you.”
This year’s bonfire night was set to be one of the biggest in years due to the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings.
There have been attempted break-ins in the past, according to Mr Lynas, who thinks whoever took them knew what was inside.
“We put this event on for the community and the people of Hastings and this year especially as it’s the 950th anniversary, we were putting all the stops out for a whole day of events and you get people who do this and it knocks you back,” he said.
Anyone with information is urged to contact police by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 101, quoting serial 518 of 17/09.
Alternatively, call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or visit www.crimestoppers-uk.org
If you see anyone trying to use them outside of an organised event, please dial 999 immediately.
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