The difficulty of catching people who let off fireworks illegally in Bradford has been laid bare by new figures.

A Freedom of Information request revealed that no initial arrests were made from 267 reports of anti-social firework use between 10:30pm and 6am over the last three years, despite 106 of those incidents being attended by officers.

One councillor said the figures showed how difficult it was to get prosecutions, as many offenders run off immediately after lighting the fireworks.

West Yorkshire Police added that, when people are caught in the act, anti-social behaviour powers, such as fines, education and area exclusions are often deemed more appropriate punishments.

The issue been a concern in the city for several years. In August 2017, 4,483 people voted in an online poll run by the Telegraph & Argus, with 83 per cent saying they had been disturbed by late-night fireworks.

Councillor Talat Sajawal (Ind, Little Horton) said he had sympathy with the police’s difficult situation, but feels anti-social firework use is an issue that needs taking seriously.

He said: “The statistics are surprising but I imagine it can be difficult to get prosecutions, as a lot of people will be lighting the fireworks then running off.

“There needs to be stronger messages surrounding anti-social firework use though and prosecutions would help, because they would deter people and make them take the offence seriously.

“There’s a disregard for the law and disrespect for the people of Bradford.

“At the moment it’s gone a bit quieter but we’re coming up to a busier period now in summer where there will be fireworks at weddings every weekend.

“It’s probably going to increase the need to act upon the problem.”

Kirk Macrae lives just off Carr Lane in Shipley and he said that anti-social firework use had caused distress for his young son earlier this year.

He said: “Huge display fireworks were set off in Shipley where the community centre is at the top of Carr Lane, then after midnight, an absolutely huge load were set off in Bradford.

“My son was woken and shocked to the point of crying and I heard shouting up the road. It just seems very intimidating and is getting a lot worse

“It’s an issue I think all of Bradford wants answering and addressing.”

Bradford District Superintendent, Alisa Newman, said: “The dangerous and inappropriate use of fireworks will not be tolerated within our communities and we use a series of measures to help tackle the issue.

“Education is crucial to changing behaviours and we take a collaborative approach alongside our partners to warn of the dangers and consequences.

“Where necessary, however, we will use enforcement, which can fall under a whole host of offences.

“Incidents involving a firework may see arrests categorised as disorder, criminal damage or an assault.

“Where appropriate, we also use anti-social behaviour powers, which could result in a fine or potentially an exclusion from a particular area.

“It is often this early intervention approach that sees the most effective outcomes, particularly where young people are concerned.

“Officers may also deal with those using fireworks illegally with a caution or through a community resolution.”

West Yorkshire Police clarified that the FOI figures given to us only represent arrests made at the time of initial response, incidents recorded as anti-social behaviour involving fireworks/throwing and had the words “firework” or “fire work” in the police log text.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Bradford Council said: “Bradford Council takes all noise complaints seriously, including those that involve fireworks being set off after 10:30pm.

“We work with the police and local communities to ensure any issues are dealt with properly. The council has not seen an increase in the number of reports around fireworks. The number of incidents reported in 2018 was lower than that in 2017, with only two incidents recorded so far in 2019.”

Meanwhile, The RSPCA warned that an estimated 45 per cent of dogs in the UK show signs of fear when they hear fireworks, with millions of animals are affected by them every year.

The charity said it would also like to see the maximum permitted noise level of fireworks for public sale reduced from 120 decibels and due consideration given to the type and frequency of the noise.