THE period around Halloween, Bonfire Night and through the festive season "has become an excuse for a destructive minority to cause misery for the public at large", a Newport MP has warned.

Newport East's Jessica Morden was speaking during a Parliamentary debate on a petition calling for the sale of fireworks to the public to be banned, which was signed by 294,114 people, including 4,515 in Gwent.

The petition warned fireworks "are a nuisance to the public", "scare animals, young children and people with a phobia" and "injure thousands of people every year" and calls for measures to be put in place to stop children from getting hold of them.

Ms Morden said: “The problem exists in the build-up and aftermath, from Halloween through Bonfire Night and all the way to the new year.

"Particularly this year around Bonfire Night, I, like other honourable members, received a host of emails and messages from constituents complaining about the distress that fireworks can cause to vulnerable loved ones, pets and other animals.

“Many of the complaints related to antisocial behaviour, and I think it is true to say that the firework season has become an excuse for a destructive minority to cause misery for the public at large."

The Labour MP referred to a number of constituents who had suffered problems, including Rosie-May Mason, of Cwmbran, who was hit by a stray firework during a display last year. Rosie-May was just four years old at the time and had to have a skin graft from her scalp to heal the burns.

Her family have since raised money for the Children’s Burns Trust in thanks for the support they were offered.

Ms Morden added the way fireworks are used had changed over the years.

“I take part in this debate with a bit of a heavy heart, because my late and wonderful dad very much disliked and railed against what he called 'organised fun', and insisted that absolutely every year on November 5 we had a firework display in the back garden, rather than going to a public display," she said.

“With that background, I certainly do not want to deny families that fun and time of celebration, but the problem, as everyone has said in the debate, is that the days of a small tin of fireworks in the back garden, let off at 8 o’clock on Bonfire Night, are gone.

“They are not completely gone, but they have been overtaken.”

She also praised the work of police, the fire service and organisations such as Newport Live in working to tackle problems caused by misuse of fireworks.

Speaking after the debate she urged the UK Government to reform legislation around the sale of fireworks and for emergency services to be "fully equipped to deal with the extra burden placed on them during fireworks season”.