Diligent police officers have found R12 million worth of illegal fireworks and a consignment of counterfeit branded clothing. Stock picture: Reuters

KwaZulu-Natal - Durban police have applied for a court order to destroy fireworks worth R12 million that were confiscated this week.

The massive stashes of illegally stored fireworks were discovered in two separate investigations by police to check that retailers selling fireworks had licences to do so and were complying with legislation.

Police spokesman Vincent Mdunge said that the Durban Explosives Unit found 300 tons of fireworks at a warehouse in Riverhorse Valley.

He said the licence allowed the licensee to store 1 000kg of fireworks only.

“The Match Crackers and the Indian King Koils were imported in 2009 and 2012, and were illegal,” Mdunge said.

The licensee had been given the opportunity to move his excess stock to a storage magazine and all the illegal items should have been quarantined in a warehouse under lock and key.

However on Tuesday, when police returned for a follow-up inspection, they found that the licensee had continued to store the fireworks on the premises.

His licence to sell fireworks was revoked and a criminal case was opened at Newlands West police station.

Mdunge said that the 300 tons of fireworks worth R10m were impounded.

In the second incident, illegal fireworks valued at R2m were found at a warehouse in Sydney Road.

The owner was accused of overstocking and repackaging fireworks. There was also evidence that fireworks were being made, Mdunge said.

Police also found counterfeit clothes worth R2.5m that were taken to the South African Revenue Service.

Provincial police commissioner Mmamonnye Ngobeni said:

“Some of these fireworks were brought into the country illegally; similarly the counterfeit clothes, and may have gone unnoticed had it not been for the diligent officers doing the inspection.”

- The Mercury