26-Jul-2017
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London acid attacks: Ministers urged to tighten laws

LONDON July 15: Ministers are coming under pressure to tighten the laws on the sale and possession of acid and other corrosive substances amid growing fears they have become the “weapon of choice” of teenagers.
 
Calls for changes to the law followed a spate of five acid attacks in the space of a little over an hour that left one victim with “life-changing” injuries.
 
Another victim told how he felt his “face was burning”. Two boys, aged 15 and 16, were arrested on Friday in 
connection with the attacks on moped riders on Thursday night.
 
Scotland Yard figures show the number of attacks using corrosive substances rose to 458, more than double the figure in 2014.
 
The Home Office said on Friday evening it was urgently working on an action plan to curb the use of acid, including restricting its sale to under-18s.
 
Campaigners told The Telegraph that crime gangs were switching to acid and ammonia because laws had been tightened on possession of knives.
 
Sulphuric acid at 91 per cent strength can be bought cheaply over the counter in shops and DIY stores as a drain unblocker. There is no age restriction for those buying it. Ammonia is similarly available.
 
Jaf Shah, of Acid Survivors Trust 
International, said: “Concentrated acid is clearly becoming the weapon of choice for gangland kids.
 
“For the perpetrators, using acid is a ‘safer’ crime to commit because you are not going to be charged if you are caught in possession of it. It is very cheap and kids of any age can make a cash payment and cannot be traced.
 
“The Government needs to urgently introduce measures to make concentrated acid and ammonia available only for over-18s and with a credit card.”