People who set off distress flares in place of fireworks have been called irresponsible by the lead coxswain of York Rescue Boat.
A number of the bright red flares were seen last night (Wednesday) to the west of the city centre.
Flares are used for distress signalling, illumination, or defensive countermeasures in civilian and military applications.
They are not used in firework displays and usually when seen they are assumed to be a signal that someone is in trouble at sea.
Mark Mullen at York Rescue Boat told YorkMix: “I love fireworks but flares cause a world of problem in the wrong hands. They should only be used for grave and imminent risk to life or a vessel.
‘The trouble with flares is twofold. There is the obvious one of them being mistaken for a distress signal, which is what a red rocket signifies.
“The other is they burn at a very high temperature for a long time, coming down on a parachute. As such if they’re fired over land they can easily set things on fire when they land.”
People tempted to set them off should remember that it’s illegal to do that in anything other than an emergency.