Teen charged with 15 offenses in London acid attacks

By Allen Cone   |   July 16, 2017 at 11:48 AM
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July 16 (UPI) -- The Metropolitan Police Service said a 16-year-old boy faces 15 charges connected to five acid attacks carried out last week in London.

Scotland Yard police arrested on Saturday the unidentified teen on five counts of attempted grievous bodily harm with intent, four counts of attempted robbery, three counts of robbery, one count of possession of an item to discharge a noxious substance, one count of handling stolen goods and one count of grievous bodily harm with intent.

The teen is scheduled to appear before the Stratford Youth Court on Monday, Met Police said in a statement.

Another boy, 15, was arrested Friday but is out on bail until "a date in early August," police said.

Two moped-riding attackers targeted five men -- three pedestrians and two moped riders -- over a 72-minute stretch in northern London's Clapton, Hackney, Islington and Stoke Newington neighborhoods. Police said the theft of mopeds may have been the motive behind some of the incidents.

All of the victims were taken to hospitals, including one who sustained life-changing facial injuries, police said.

On Friday, another acid attack was reported in Dagenham, east London.

Met Police in March reported acid attacks are on the rise in London: 166 incidents in 2014, 261 in 2015, and 454 in 2016.

"It's drain cleaner, oven cleaner, ammonia -- different types of household products which can be bought. My plea is to sellers to have moral responsibility, social responsibility, to ask the questions," Simon Laurence, chief superintendent for Hackney borough in east London, told CNN.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said she wants attackers to "feel the full force of the law."

"I am clear that life sentences must not be reserved for acid attack survivors," she wrote in the Sunday Times.

Rudd said she wants acid and other corrosive substances to be classed as dangerous weapons.

Possession of acid or other corrosive substances with the intention to do harm already carries a four-year maximum penalty.

Rudd also wants to restrict the sale of such substances by retailers.

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