A regional NSW man has received a nine month suspended sentence and 250 hours of community service for storing and carelessly handling unauthorised fireworks.

Wilton resident Leigh Wayne Maxwell was convicted by Local Court Magistrate Joanne Keogh of four offences of handling fireworks without a licence under section 6 of the Explosives Act.

Maxwell, 43, who entered a guilty plea, was also convicted of two offences of negligently handling explosives under section 8 of the Act.

In August and December 2012, following a report that Maxwell had been seen selling fireworks from the boot of his car at Castle Hill, WorkCover inspectors found a significant quantity of fireworks at Maxwell’s Wilton residence.

A further report in June 2013 alleged Maxwell had again been observed selling fireworks from his vehicle at Castle Hill.

Maxwell did not have a WorkCover licence to handle, store or sell fireworks in NSW and the fireworks found at his home, located in a residential area, could have caused fatal injuries and devastating property damage in a mass explosion if accidently ignited.

Handing down sentence, Magistrate Keogh took Maxwell’s conduct and period of offending into account.

If Maxwell – who also received a $1,000 fine and was ordered to pay prosecutors’ costs of $12,500 – breaches conditions of his good behaviour bond, the bond may be revoked and the sentence imposed.

Under NSW laws, penalties of 12 months imprisonment and fines of $27,000 can be imposed for fireworks offences.

WorkCover’s Executive Director, Work Health and Safety, Peter Dunphy, said potential offenders should be aware of NSW’s stringent fireworks laws.

“These laws include tough penalties for offenders and the courts have shown that they are prepared to use them,” Mr Dunphy said.“Anyone tempted to sell or use illegal fireworks should first consider the consequences as they can be held responsible for any injuries or deaths caused as a result of their actions.”

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