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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 November 2005, 20:49 GMT
Eye agony of firework victim, 11
Luke Dennis
Luke Dennis was in hospital for five days after being injured
A south Wales boy has suffered permanent eye damage from a firework, as police consider introducing curfews on youngsters in some areas.

Luke Dennis, 11, of Rhondda, will never have full sight in one eye after older boys threw a firework into his face.

As his mother called for a ban on their public sale, a senior police officer said he was thinking about curfews in the worst-hit areas of Cardiff.

Police are searching for a group of five or six youths aged about 15 or 16.

Luke, of Treherbert, spent five days in hospital after he was injured while walking home from the park with his brother.

He said: "There were big boys older than us, about 16, outside the gate and you could see them going in their pockets.

"Then you could hear a noise like a firework, so we ran.

"I turned around and it came over the top (of a fence) and it hit me straight in they eye. It was burning."

Andrea Dennis
There should be no fireworks in shops
Andrea Dennis

Luke did not know the boys, who were wearing dark clothes and "hoodies" covering their heads.

His mother Andrea said: "He's been ever so brave. It's unbelievable what he's gone though."

Mrs Dennis cancelled the family's own bonfire celebrations and said: "They should be banned. There should be no fireworks in shops."

The illegal use of fireworks - and other anti-social behaviour prompted Supt Bob Evans, a divisional commander in Cardiff, to describe the behaviour of many youngsters in the city as inexcusable.

'Mystery shoppers'

Supt Evans said the number of calls to police on Halloween were up by more than half on last year, with 800 calls to the eastern area control room alone. The St Mellons and Rumney areas were the worst hit.

"Parents have a role to play in monitoring their children's conduct but sadly this failed to occur in many instances.

Police are urging people to go to organised displays

"I am so appalled by the number and nature of the incidents that I am seriously considering the option of implementing a curfew in the worst hit areas next year."

"Bonfire night is just a few days away, we will be deploying significant numbers of officers to deal very firmly with anyone using fireworks in an inappropriate or dangerous manner."

The Welsh fire services' bonfire night safety campaign - entitled Be a nice guy - aims to clamp down on such behaviour ahead of 5 November.

In Wales last year, there were 82 reported firework injuries, with over a third being aged between five and 15 years old
Chief fire officer Douglas Mackay

As part of the campaign - now in its second year - the public will be able to report firework incidents to an e-mail address monitored by the fire service.

Teenagers will also be used as "mystery shoppers" to test if retailers are selling fireworks illegally to under-18s.

Chief fire officer Douglas Mackay, of the Mid and West Wales Fire Service, said: "In Wales last year, there were 82 reported firework injuries, with over a third being aged between five and 15 years old.

"Statistically fewer accidents occur at organised events and we are urging people to attend organised displays where they are less likely to get hurt."

On 5 November, two clean-up teams from Swansea Council will dismantle illegal bonfires on public land and take them away for recycling.

Acting Inspector Bryan Heard, from South Wales Police, said the message from the partnership was clear.

"Go to a fireworks display where organisers have invested time in taking every step to make the event as safe as possible."

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