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Fireworks deaths plea to Major

A firework victim was in hospital last night facing plastic surgery after an accident involving the type of Chinese-made "mortar" device which caused two deaths at the weekend.

Barry Roebuck, 53, who was said to be experienced in giving community firework displays, was lighting the powerful firework which should have had a 25-second fuse. As soon as he ignited the fuse, the firework exploded in his face, causing severe burns to his hands, face and upper body. He was detained in the burns unit of Sheffield's Northern General Hospital.

Earlier in the day, relatives of two people killed by fireworks handed in a letter of protest to the Prime Minister calling for tougher laws on the sale of imported fireworks. Joan Mitchell, aunt of a nine-year- old boy killed last week, and Antony Robinson, whose brother Roger died two years ago, were among a delegation which handed in a letter to No 10 Downing Street.

The DTI said it would consider introducing new curbs as part of an overall review of firework safety.