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Police raid illegal fireworks business in Molenbeek

Hand out picture released on Friday 11 December 2020, by police zone Brussels West shows an illegal fireworks depot in Sint-Jans-Molenbeek/ Molenbeek-Saint-Jean, Brussels. (POLICE ZONE BRUSSELS WEST)
09:58 14/12/2020

Brussels West Police seized 150kg of illegal fireworks worth €15,000 from a garage in Molenbeek on Thursday after the police area's specialized online search unit discovered the suspect trading in pyrotechnics via the Snapchat app.

The online search unit was able to locate the fireworks storage site, as well as a suspect living in the commune suspected of managing the illegal business, the Brussels prosecutor's office said. Various types of fireworks, allegedly shipped in from abroad, were offered for sale via the suspect’s social media account, on the basis of photos and demo videos he provided.

In the raid, which led to the arrest of the suspect, police found so-called "mortars", pyrotechnics often used against the police. It is alleged that the suspect made sales of these particular fireworks in connection with the riots which took place in Anderlecht at the end of November. The large stash of fireworks discovered at the garage were stored in poor and dangerous conditions.

The use of fireworks is prohibited in the territory of the Brussels-Capital region and police will continue to make checks in the coming weeks. People found in possession of pyrotechnics will be punished under current regulations banning their possession and use.

Written by Nick Amies