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Supplying explosives precursors and poisons – GOV.UK

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Updated 19 May 2023

© Crown copyright 2023
This publication is licensed under the terms of the Open Government Licence v3.0 except where otherwise stated. To view this licence, visit nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/3 or write to the Information Policy Team, The National Archives, Kew, London TW9 4DU, or email: psi@nationalarchives.gov.uk.
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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/supplying-explosives-precursors/supplying-explosives-precursors-and-poison
Certain chemicals can be used in the illicit manufacture of explosives or to cause harm.
Members of the public who want to import, acquire, possess or use these chemicals must hold an Explosives Precursors and Poisons (EPP) licence issued by the Home Office and an associated photographic identity document. For further information see EPP licences: application guidance.
For retailer-specific information on selling chemicals responsibly please see ProtectUK.
An EPP licence is required before regulated substances can be legitimately supplied to a member of the public. Businesses and professional users do not require EPP licences for regulated substances, where the substance is being used as part of their business or profession.
Regulated poisons must only be supplied to the public by or under the supervision of a registered pharmacist. Specific guidance for pharmacists is available.
A member of the public must show their valid EPP licence and associated photo ID document before you can supply any regulated chemicals.
The full lists of regulated substances and concentration thresholds are available at the end of this page.
If a member of the general public requests to purchase a regulated substance above the concentration threshold, you should:
If the transaction is suspicious or unusual in any way:
More information on suspicious transactions is provided below.
Guidance to assist you in checking a licence is available.
From 1 October 2023 businesses supplying regulated explosives precursors to professional users and other businesses (i.e., those who don’t need a licence) will need to take additional steps to verify the legitimacy of the professional user or business.
The person making the sale must obtain the following from the business customer
This information must be recorded and retained for 18 months and available for inspection.
In all cases, the supplier should assess whether the intended use is reasonably consistent with the trade, business or profession. If in doubt, the sale must be refused and reported as a suspicious transaction within 24 hours.
Businesses and professional users should be verified every time a new purchase is made. Where regulated substances are being supplied frequently or on a routine basis to the same professional user or business, verification should occur every 18 months or whenever there is a change or deviation from normal purchasing patterns.
For the purposes of this requirement, examples of photographic identification can include: passport, driving licence, trade identification card, business ID card. This list is not exhaustive.
For advice on verifying a business customer, you can either:
Any suspicious transactions or attempted transaction (business to consumer and business to business) of regulated substances and reportable substances must be reported.
Suspicious activity reports must be made using the online Report suspicious chemical activity service.
However, if you are unable to report in this way you can make a report to the national contact point on 0800 789321.
Any significant disappearances or thefts of regulated substances and reportable substances must be reported within 24 hours to your local police force using 101 (or 999 in an emergency). Please include a reference to the Poisons Act in your report and if it is a regulated/reportable explosive precursor/poison.
The selling chemical products responsibly leaflet and poster provide advice to managers on how to alert your staff to suspicious transaction reporting requirements. Suppliers will need to identify your affected products and can utilise the editable poster to make a note of them. We suggest this poster is placed in a position where it can be easily seen by your staff but, as far as possible, hidden from view to customers.
From 1 October 2023 – Any suspicious transactions of regulated substances and reportable substances must be reported within 24 hours of considering a transaction to be suspicious.
From 1 October 2023 it will be a legal requirement for retailers to provide all information that they hold which may be of reasonable assistance in identifying the individual involved in a suspicious transaction when submitting the suspicious activity report (e.g name, email address, home address, payment card details).
This will not create an obligation to collect identifiable information where this is not held, only a requirement to report information relating to a suspicious transaction which is held as routine. Policing colleagues need this minimum level of detail to effectively investigate reports of suspicious activity.
From 1 October 2023 businesses supplying regulated and reportable substances to another businesses must inform them that the products they are purchasing are regulated or reportable under the Poisons Act 1972.
To comply with these measures, it is understood that different methods will need to be employed dependent on the specific environment of the supplier and customer base. Businesses should ensure they have a process in place that provides those in the supply chain with an awareness of their obligations under the Poisons Act when that product is sold on.
Consideration should be given to implementing one of the following methods of notification:
This is not a prescriptive list and businesses should utilise methods of notification that will work for their business within the environment that they operate.
Online marketplaces have new obligations to take all reasonably practicable measures to provide information to any supplier who uses the online marketplace to sell regulated or reportable substances about their obligations and to identify and report any suspicious transactions.
Businesses supplying any substances to professional users or members of the public must also ensure and be able to demonstrate that its staff are aware which of its products contain listed substances and are instructed on obligations and the potential offences which apply.
For retailer-specific information on selling chemicals responsibly please see ProtectUK.
The Poisons Act 1972 as amended introduces the following offences:
1) The supply of a regulated substance to a member of the general public:
(a) without first verifying that the member of the general public has a licence to import, acquire, possess and use that substance:
(b) without first entering details of the transaction on the licence:
(c) without first ensuring that a warning label is affixed to the packaging in which the substance is supplied:
2) Failure to report suspicious transactions or significant disappearances or thefts:
3) Failure to comply with regulations about poisons and explosives precursors:
Remind your staff about the tips on refusing a sale.
Please read the guidance on labelling requirements for regulated poisons and explosives precursors.
On 26 March 2015, the Poisons Act 1972 was amended via the Deregulation Act 2015 and the Control of Poisons and Explosives Precursors Regulations 2015 were introduced to create a cohesive regime to control sales of explosives precursors and poisons. Poisons Act 1972 (legislation.gov.uk)
The Control of Poisons and Explosives Precursors Regulations 2023 introduced new substances to the lists of regulated explosives precursors and poisons. Offences relating to the acquisition, importation, supply, possession and use of the following substances were added and are effective from 1 October 2023:
The full lists are set out below.
Products of particular interest are those in which a reportable chemical is either: present on its own or the main ingredient, or present in a simple mixture, typically less than 5 ingredients.
Products containing less than 1% of any of the reportable chemicals, or fertilizers that are not labelled for nitrogen (N) content are, in general, of no concern.
The spelling of the EPPs referred to above is taken from the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) nomenclature.
From 1 October 2023.  2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
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