A 75-year-old man was nearly blinded in a “despicable” acid attack robbery, police have revealed.
Detectives said the pensioner was lucky not to have lost the sight in one eye after a moped-riding robber calmly squirted a “noxious substance” at him, having already stolen his watch.
Only the quick actions of passers-by - including a doctor - who rushed to give first aid prevented the man from suffering more permanent injury.
The attack on the 75-year-old in Harrow, north London, comes amid a spate of acid attacks and ‘moped robberies’ in the capital that has seen thieves riding around the streets using acid or hammers and crowbars as weapons.
Police were called just after 5.30pm on Wednesday after two robbers on a motor scooter rode towards the pensioner and attacked him in Buckingham Parade, Harrow.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “Officers found a 75-year-old man suffering from eye injury. He explained how he was set upon by two suspects who rode towards him on a scooter before forcibly grabbing his wrist and stealing his watch.
“One of the suspects then casually walked up to him and squirted a noxious substance at his face from a bottle.
“The injured man did not require hospital treatment but did receive medical care from a London Ambulance Service and a passing doctor.”
Appealing for information, Detective Sergeant Amar Patel, who is leading the hunt for the robbers, said: “This is a despicable attack on an elderly gentleman going about his daily business.
“The victim was unable to defend himself against this vicious robbery which was followed up by a senseless attack with what we now know to be a noxious substance.
"A specialist has today - Thursday - confirmed that were it not for the swift intervention and treatment he received from people who attended to him at the scene, he may well have lost his sight in one eye.
"It is vital we bring the culprits to justice before they target anyone else.”
The stolen watch is described as a Cartier Pasha with a brown leather strap, a gold rim, and a gold face which is customized and engraved with hour numbers.
A Scotland Yard spokesman added: “The moped used by the robbers was completely black, the suspects wore all black clothing made of canvas/tactical material. The helmets were rounded and the visor covered the entirety of the face.”
Anyone with information is asked call police on 07769 162 964 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.