Explosive Deals: Black Market Fireworks In Stock

A real black market”: while the state has banned the sale of “pyrotechnic devices” for July 14, fireworks, very popular with rioters, remain available on a parallel market.

“120 euros for ten mortars, 30 euros for 2 mortars. Sends (sic) throughout France. 30 euros minimum order,” can we read on a Telegram loop “Mortiers / petard”, where photos and product video demonstrations.

On Snapchat, “Mortier92” also indicates on his profile “Sale of mortar on site in the 92 towards La Défense and we deliver in the surroundings. We sell mortars all year round, there’s never any installation (sic).”

Another announcement: “10 euros for the 8-shot mortar, share the snap en masse.”

On Snapchat and Telegram accounts, rocket sellers offer, with the same codes as drug traffickers, menus by product and promotions for the largest orders, often rockets of the “Tropic” brand, one of the large Polish retailers (with “Jorge”) which dominate the market.

“There is the development of a parallel market”, confirms to AFP Thibaut Prévot, manager of the French company Jacques Prévot Artifices, both importer and seller of fireworks.

The government has banned “until July 15 inclusive, the sale, port, transport and use of pyrotechnic articles and fireworks throughout the national territory”.

A decree which “considerably” weakens the sector, while missing the “real problem of the black market”, argued four specialized distributors including Jacques Prévot Artifices, who seized the Council of State.

For the pyrotechnicians, this decree will “reinforce the black market and the illegal imports to which, it is a new fact, many consumers have turned increasingly in recent times”, they added.

Networks known for 15 years

“We, the legal market, have been there for 30 years and it’s a market with obligations,” he says.

Since December 2021, sellers must report to the Ministry of the Interior any suspicious purchase of fireworks and keep a register of their sales for the last 18 months available to the police and the gendarmerie.

“These obligations scare away the malicious. They will therefore approach sellers who are a little less conscientious”, he adds, like “a trader unaware of the regulations”. “But there are fewer and fewer,” he says.

Or like sellers who will buy rockets in Eastern countries and import them “in French urban areas to sell them at retail, from cellphone to cellphone in a few hours”, adds Thibaut Prévot.

According to him, such a deadline is impossible to meet for his company, which can only deliver within 8 to 10 days.

These networks, “we have known them in the profession for fifteen years but they have been brought to light with recent events”, underlines the professional, in allusion to the urban violence which affected various cities in France at the end of June and the beginning of July. .

“No stories”

The Ministry of the Interior monitors these imports and asked the prefects, in a telegram of July 6 consulted by AFP, the systematic control of vehicles in the border departments to “prevent the importation of articles intended for illegal use “.

“I emptied my window, I put everything away,” says Christian, the manager of Pyrofolie’s in Paris, a store specializing in the sale of fireworks.

From the start of the riots, the manager had to deal with a request with “many calls” asking him about his stocks of fireworks still available.

“Me, I don’t want any trouble. The police often come to our house, we have good relations and, civically speaking, I don’t want it to be used for this kind of thing”, adds Christian who does not have wanted to give his last name.

This decision that he made out of good citizenship could cost him dearly: the manager is counting on a shortfall “between 5,000 and 10,000 euros” – even if he has not yet made an exact estimate.

This article is originally published on arabnews.fr

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