Diwali and Navratri revellers in Leicester urged to enjoy celebrations in safety
Worshippers are being asked to follow simple safety tips to ensure a happy Diwali and Navratri.
Police, firefighters and the city council are teaming up to offer safety advice throughout the celebrations, with 10,000 greetings cards with safety messages being posted through letterboxes in the Belgrave, Latimer and Rushey Mead areas of the city.
Firefighters are urging Hindus and other devotees to take care when using candles and flames.
People attending celebrations and visiting friends are being asked to lock their homes and cover up expensive jewellery when out and about.
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Chief Superintendent Rob Nixon said: "Each year, thousands of people take part in Diwali celebrations in Leicester.
"Our role is to ensure that they can enjoy this special time without fear of crime.
"Many people will be busy visiting friends and family in the coming weeks. We are urging them to take a few simple crime prevention measures – such as securing their windows and doors every time they leave their home, and being discreet with valuables, in particular expensive jewellery – when they are out and about.
"I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a safe and happy Navratri and Diwali."
Chief Superintendent Rob Nixon launched the campaign with colleagues from Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service yesterday.
Speaking at Belgrave Community Centre, in Rothley Street, police and fire officers advised people not to overfill oil lamps and to be vigilant when out during celebrations.
More than 35,000 people are expected to pack into the Golden Mile for the Diwali fireworks on Sunday, November 4.
Even more will take to the streets on Diwali day, on Tuesday, November 13, for one of the biggest celebrations of its kind outside India.
Assistant Chief Fire Officer Steve Lunn said: "Leicestershire has a very diverse population.
" The Navratri and Diwali celebrations are a cornerstone of our Hindu community, so we want to make sure everyone remains safe to enjoy every aspect this period has to offer.
"While the number of fires caused by Diva candles have remained low in recent years, it is through education and awareness campaigns, such as this, that we will ensure this remains the case."
Leicester City Council asked people not to bring fireworks to public celebrations. Diwali is also celebrated by Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs.
Navatri is a nine-day Hindu festival dedicated to the worship of Hindu deity Shakti, which starts today.