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Explosive risk to under-16s

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WHSmith has decided to clamp down on the unauthorised ownership of explosives by banning anyone under 16 from buying Christmas crackers, The Sun reports.

The policy - provoked by the fact that said crackers contain a small amount of gunpowder - came as quite a shock to 18-year-old Hannah Thomas of Weymouth, Dorset. The till operative refused to sell her a box of crackers because she looked "too young", and since the poor girl couldn't prove her age, she returned home crackerless.

She told The Sun: "I couldn't believe it - I thought they were joking. How can a Christmas cracker be dangerous?"

Hannah's mum weighed in by describing the policy as "ridiculous". She added: "These are crackers, not fireworks. I never heard of anyone being maimed by one."

WHSmith, however, called the ban "responsible retailing".

We agree. By our reckoning, a team of council estate under-16 ne'er-do-wells would only need to extract the explosive from around 20,000 Christmas crackers to build a device capable of delivering a nasty shock when posted through the letterbox of the decorated war veteran running the Neighbourhood Watch scheme. Our streets are tonight safer for decent, God-fearing citizens. ®

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