Report: Police shift change makes fireworks smuggling easy

It is very easy to buy loads of much cheaper fireworks in Germany and smuggle it back to the Netherlands if you time it right. There are hardly any police checks during shit change between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m., Dutch newspaper AD reports after speaking with several people who did just that.

Hundreds of Dutch travel to the German village of Uelsen, just across the border near Almelo, every year to buy fireworks at half the Dutch price at Lidl. The store even opens an hour earlier to accommodate everyone in the run-up to new year.

Buying fireworks abroad is allowed, provided that it is no more than 25 kilograms and Dutch instructions are included on the products. You also have to inform the Environment and Transport Inspectorate.

One man told the newspaper how he travels to a friend's house in Almelo every year on December 28th. At 6:00 a.m. the next day they drive to Germany to buy fireworks. "For myself, friends and colleagues. We go early and come back early. A friend at the police told me that between 7:00 and 9:00 the police change shift and then the chance of getting caught is minimal", he said. "It really saves more than half on price. And it is also an exciting game."

"I've never seen any police" Cordy Vokerts from Zwolle said. "And I have been coming here for years." He and his son leave for Germany around 5:30 a.m. and buy fireworks fro three families.

"I get 4 thousand Dutch over the floor on Wednesday", the Lidl manager said to the newspaper. "We are simply much cheaper. Germany did not have an Enschede", he said referring to the fireworks disaster 15 years ago that led to numerous demand on storage and safety fireworks vendors in the Netherlands must adhere to.