Acid attacks in London leave six people injured, one man arrested

A group of males reportedly sprayed a noxious substance around a shopping centre in the east of the city

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 24 September, 2017, 11:54am
UPDATED : Monday, 05 March, 2018, 4:52pm

Six people were believed to have been injured on Saturday after a group of males reportedly sprayed a noxious substance in a number of attacks in an area around a shopping centre in East London, police said.

The incident was not being treated as terror-related, a police spokesman said.

The attacks occurred near the Stratford Centre, close to London’s Olympic Stadium, in Stratford, police said. Earlier they had said the incident took place around the bigger Westfield shopping centre which is nearby.

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“A number of people have been reported injured at different locations – believed to be six people. We await further details,” London’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement.

Police said “the injuries sustained were not “life-threatening or life-changing”.

“We are working with the Home Office to explore possible restrictions around the sale of corrosive substances in conjunction with retailers and manufacturers.”

One male was arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm, the statement said.

London Ambulance Service tweeted that they had treated at least five patients after sending paramedics and a fleet of ambulances.

The incident occurred around 8pm.

Photographs posted online showed police officers crouching over an apparent victim of the attack as they treated him.

Witnesses told the Press Association that an argument had broken out soon beforehand.

Burger King employee Hossen, 28, said a local homeless man came into the fast food outlet “to wash acid off his face”.

The number of acid attacks has increased in Britain in recent years, linked to robberies and gang-related violence. There were 431 acid attacks in London last year, 398 of which were carried out in Stratford’s borough of Newham.

The government said in July it would look at tougher punishments for people who attack others using acid.

The director of public prosecutions, said there was a strong public interest in authorising the Crown Prosecution Service to give out the strongest punishments to acid attackers.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse, The Guardian