Two separate acid attacks reported in Manchester and Kent

Latest incidents follow recent spate of horrifying chemical assaults in London

Rachel Roberts
Saturday 05 August 2017 21:12 BST
Delivery drivers pictured at a protest outside Parliament, are among those calling for tougher sentences to anyone who carries out an acid attack
Delivery drivers pictured at a protest outside Parliament, are among those calling for tougher sentences to anyone who carries out an acid attack (PA)

Two suspected acid attacks in Manchester and Kent were reported to police this weekend, following the recent spate of assaults involving corrosive substances in London.

A man, aged in his late 20s, was left with injuries to his eyes and face in what police are treating as a suspected acid attack.

Officers found the victim after being called to City Walk in Salford at around 2pm on Saturday afternoon.

The man was taken to hospital but the severity of his injuries is not yet known.

Anyone with information on the Salford incident is asked to call police on 101, quoting incident number 1118 of 04/08/17, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

In another attack, a man was injured at a fish and chip shop in a seaside town in Kent, where he reportedly worked.

Kent Police said the attack occurred shortly before 9am, when a “substance” was thrown at the victim at Ian's Plaice, off Thanet Way in Whitstable.

There were unconfirmed reports that the attack happened during a robbery.

The man was taken to hospital with facial injuries following the attack. His condition is not yet known.

No arrests have been made, a police spokesman said.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) this week issued new tough interim guidelines on sentencing following the recent surge in acid attacks.

Anyone caught carrying acid could face up to four years in prison or risk a life sentence if they use it to attack somebody.

Carrying acid should now be treated as possession of an offensive weapon or threatening a person with an offensive weapon, which both carry a maximum four-year sentence, the CPS said.

Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders told the London Evening Standard: “You can't just expect to carry acid around without an excuse. It counts as an offensive weapon, just as much as a knife or a screwdriver could be.

“We are very conscious of the impact of this crime and how there has been a recent spate of it so we are very keen to make sure that we do prosecute it and the court has the right sentencing powers.”

Life sentences could be given to those who carry out acid attacks, even if they miss their target or their victim escapes serious injury, Ms Saunders said.

“We are giving the courts the widest possible sentencing power they could possibly want, which is up to life,” she said.

This is the first time the CPS has issued guidelines specifically referring to acid or other corrosive substances following calls for tougher laws around the crime.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has pledged to review the Poisons Act of 1972 to ensure it covers enough chemicals following concerns that acid is too easy to buy.

In a wave of attacks last month, five male victims – all on mopeds and including a fast-food delivery driver – were targeted one-by-one by two moped-riding assailants in north-east London.

Metropolitan Police Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey told the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee there were 455 acid offences recorded in London last year. The rate has increased by 65 per cent in 2017.

Officers are looking at links between London gang activity and the rise in acid attacks, although they have cautioned the evidence is limited.

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