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Two teens arrested after wave of acid attacks in London

By Staff Reporter

A second teenage boy is in custody after two males on a moped carried out five acid attacks across London in less than 90 minutes.

The teenagers - aged 15 and 16 - were arrested on suspicion of robbery and grievous bodily harm following the assaults in the north and east of the capital, which the Metropolitan Police said appeared to be linked.

Two involved victims having their mopeds stolen, while one victim has been left with "life-changing" injuries after being doused with a corrosive liquid on Thursday night, the force added.

Chief Inspector Ben Clark, from Hackney Borough, said all of the victims were riding mopeds, adding that it is not the case that they were all food delivery riders.

Police said the 15-year-old was arrested at an address in Stoke Newington yesterday morning, while the 16-year-old was arrested in the early hours of yesterday in Kingsbury Road after he was identified near the scene of the offences by local authority CCTV operators.

Both suspects last night remained in custody at a north London police station.

Theresa May's spokeswoman said the Prime Minister viewed acid attacks as "horrific".

She told a Westminster briefing: "It is already an offence to carry acid or a corrosive substance with intent to cause harm. And anyone using it can be prosecuted for pretty serious offences including ABH and GBH. We are working with the police to see what more we could do.

"The Prime Minister's view is that the use of acid in this way is horrific."

Commissioner Cressida Dick revealed the Home Office is working with the Met to see if a change in the law is needed.

Chief Inspector Clark said yesterday: "This is a fast moving investigation and we have made two arrests today.

"However, I would like to ask the public for their help. Each of these offences took place in busy locations and we know there may be witnesses who have not yet contacted us. If you saw something or managed to film or photograph anything that might help us, please get in touch.

"These are hideous offences and must have been very frightening for all of the victims.

"I'm aware of rumours circulating that the victims were all food delivery riders set up in advance of the attacks. This is not the case.

"All victims were riding mopeds at the time of the attacks, but were from a variety of backgrounds.

"Of late we have seen more attacks using corrosive substances in London. I would urge businesses and parents to challenge those who they think may be trying to obtain or carry these substances as this could help prevent serious offences and life-changing injuries being caused."

Labour MP Stephen Timms, who will lead an adjournment debate on acid attacks in the Commons on Monday, has called for tougher sentences for those found guilty.

Acid attack survivor Katie Piper said victims face a "life sentence" as she also called for tougher sentencing to act as a deterrent.

The TV presenter, author and charity campaigner has undergone more than 250 operations after an ex-boyfriend arranged the assault nearly a decade ago.

In an open letter published in the Scars, Burns & Healing medical journal on Thursday, she revealed: "I couldn't recognise myself when I woke up from a coma and I wanted to commit suicide."

She added: "I will continue to need operations and therapy for life. For acid attack survivors, the aftermath is a life sentence."

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