HOTEL owners said they were "saddened" by allegations made against them after a fireworks box malfunctioned and shot into the crowd at their event on Saturday night.

Emergency services were called to The Antrobus Hotel in Amesbury just before 8.10pm, to reports that rockets were firing into crowds of people at the bonfire night event.

Paramedics treated 14 people for minor injuries at the scene, but none were hospitalised.

And now the hotel has released a statement denying any wrongdoing and insisting all safety procedures were followed correctly, after visitors to the event took to social media to make claims that staff had been drinking, the venue was too small for the fireworks display and fire exit doors were locked.

Stephen Fitzgerald, director of Fitzbride Limited, who own The Antrobus Hotel, said a full risk assessment was undertaken prior to the event and "all required control measures" were put in place, including two safety cordons and fire extinguishing equipment.

The fireworks were also lit using a remote ignition system, meaning they were set off by pushing a button rather than being lit by a fuse.

Mr Fitzgerald said the fireworks used on the night were class two 'garden' rated reworks, supplied by a licenced and accredited supplier.

He added that the hotel had "exceeded its safety obligations" by providing a safe distance "spectator cordon" that was more than double the distance recommended by the manufacturer.

He also said less than 120 people attended, not meeting or exceeding the licenced capacity for the venue of 210 persons.

Eight staff were on duty, he said, "the majority of which were first aid trained" and "none of whom" had been drinking alcohol before the incident.

Mr Fitzgerald said: "All four fire exits at the rear of the hotel were available, however we appreciate that in the rush to get inside some persons may have had difficulty in operating the doors - which we will be reviewing.

"These facts were all verified by the visiting fire officer and/or police in attendance that evening, who agreed that the hotel had made a considerable effort to ensure that the event was safe."

Mr Fitzgerald added that the incident was "highly regrettable", and said: "I would like to commend the team on duty, who called the emergency services and rendered aid in what was otherwise extremely challenging circumstances.

"The whole team is saddened by the upset and injury caused on what should have been a happy evening, that a great deal of effort was put into on behalf of the community.

"Our focus now is liaising with those affected, the fireworks supplier, as well as reviewing our procedures and completing a thorough investigation to ensure that incidents like this do not occur at events held at other venues."

Wiltshire Police said the investigation had been passed over to Wiltshire Council's licensing department, but said they did not have any information about whether staff had been drinking.

And a spokesman for Amesbury Town Council said it was "extremely sorry for those members of the community who suffered injury or trauma".

They said the council would monitor Wiltshire Council's health and safety report once published, and would now give consideration to holding its own fireworks event in 2018.

Wiltshire Council has been approached for comment.