Officials have admitted this year’s anti-illegal fireworks campaign has been based on luring potential buyers to them from fake web shops based in Poland.
More than 500 people who attempted to buy illegal fireworks via the web shops were sent a personalised video message featuring a police officer and warning them they were committing a crime. They were also sent a letter with the same warning.
When the campaign was launched last month the police refused to give details of how they planned to track down buyers of illegal fireworks, leading some experts to suspect fake websites would be involved.
The websites were managed by special safety foundation Stichting VeiligheidNL which is part of the government’s fireworks task force.
However, a spokesman said the police had not been given direct access to the information. ‘The policewoman who recorded the messages only knew the initials of the people placing the orders,’ Cees Meijer is quoted as saying by Nos television.
Mejier said the method used had been approved by the public prosecution department and there was no question of entrapment.
The foundation considers the campaign a success for spreading unease among fans of illegal fireworks and showing it is no longer safe and anonymous to order them online.
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