Latest: Two teenage boys arrested after five acid attacks in 90 minutes in London

Update 3.15pm: 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, 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 on Thursday night in the east of the capital, the force added.

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

Both suspects are in custody at a north London police station.

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.

He said: "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."

Update 12pm: 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."

Update 10.45am: A 16-year-old boy is in custody after two males on a moped carried out five acid attacks across London in less than 90 minutes, police said.

The teenager was arrested on suspicion of robbery and grievous bodily harm following the assaults, 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 on Thursday night in the east of the capital, the force added.

Picture: @moodiman/PA Wire

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

She branded acid attacks "completely barbaric", telling LBC: "The acid can cause horrendous injuries; the ones last night involved a series of robberies we believe are linked - I am glad to see we have arrested somebody."

The 16-year-old youth is being held at an east London police station.

One man, who lives in the block of flats overlooking the scene of the attack in Upper Clapton Road and did not want to be named, said: "I saw the road closed for a couple of hours. It looked really scary. I saw the aftermath. I saw the motorbike on the pavement."

Asha Kaur, 26, said it was frightening to think that an attack happened so close to where she lives off the Upper Clapton Road.

The beauty therapist, who got home on Thursday night at 11pm - shortly before the attack - said: "It's just scary because I walk to work and it's just literally outside your doorstep.

"Even with my phone, you've just got to be extra cautious and hide it all away."

Ms Kaur said she has told her 22-year-old brother to be "extra careful".

Update 9am: The Home Office and the Metropolitan Police are working together to see if changes in the law are needed to help tackle acid attacks, the Commissioner has revealed.

Cressida Dick, the country's most senior officer, told LBC that the growing trend of victims being doused with corrosive liquids is concerning.

Speaking in the wake of the latest attack, which saw two men on a moped target five people, Ms Dick branded acid attacks "completely barbaric".

Cressida Dick

"The acid can cause horrendous injuries; the ones last night involved a series of robberies we believe are linked - I am glad to see we have arrested somebody," she told the show.

"And it is not, I don't want people to think this is happening all over London all the time, it is really not, but we are concerned because the numbers appear to be going up.

"We will arrest people, we will enforce the law as we can, and we are working very closely with the Home Office to try to see if there is any changes in the law required."

Earlier: Two men on a moped carried out five acids attacks during a spree across London which lasted less than 90 minutes, police said.

The Metropolitan Police said one victim had been left with "life-changing" injuries after being doused on Thursday night in the east of the capital.

The assaults appeared to be linked and two involved victims having their mopeds stolen, they added.

A male teenager was later said to have been arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm and robbery and has been taken to an east London police station.

At the start of the rampage, a 32-year-old moped driver had been approached by the pair as he drove towards the Hackney Road junction with Queensbridge Road.

The two male suspects had tossed the noxious substance into his face before one of them jumped on to his vehicle and drove away.

Police said the man had gone to an east London hospital and they were awaiting an update on his injuries.

Little more than 20 minutes later, at around 10.50pm, another victim had been sprayed with searing liquid by the pair on the Upper Street junction with Highbury Corner, Islington.

The victim was taken to hospital in north London.

Then at around 11.05pm, the fast-moving attackers swooped on a man in Shoreditch High Street, tossing the substance in his face.

His injuries were not life-threatening, police said.

Within 15 minutes, they appeared to have struck again, launching their corrosive load at a man on Cazenove Road and causing "life-changing" facial injuries.

The final assault of the night was reported to police at 11.37pm, when another man was confronted as he sat on his moped in traffic on Chatsworth Road.

After again spraying the liquid in a victim's face, the moped was stolen and both attackers fled.

The Met Police said in a statement: "Inquiries are ongoing and officers from Hackney CID are investigating.

"Any witnesses, anyone with information or in possession of footage of these incidents should contact police on 101 or tweet @MetCC. To remain anonymous you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."

The string of assaults comes just days after a man appeared in court accused of throwing acid at an aspiring model and her cousin.

Resham Khan, 21, and Jameel Muhktar, 37, were left with life-changing injuries after the attack on Ms Khan's 21st birthday in Beckton, east London.

John Tomlin appeared at Thames Magistrates' Court on Tuesday charged with two counts of grievous bodily harm with intent.

A mass acid attack has also previously hit the capital this year.

On Easter Monday, acid was sprayed at a crowded east London club night, leaving two revellers partially blinded and others disfigured.

Arthur Collins, the former boyfriend of reality TV star Ferne McCann, was charged in connection with the attack.

Witness Sarah Cobbold looked out from her flat near the Hackney Road attack to see police pouring huge bottles of water over the victim on her doorstep.

The 29-year-old sub-editor had been standing at the same spot just minutes earlier.

She told the Press Association: "It was just outside my flat, the victim was literally stood on my doorstep.

"It was probably about 10.30pm, I saw some reports that it happened at 10.25pm so by 10.30pm there were a couple of police cars and an ambulance there.

"After about 10 minutes I still saw the flashing and went out on my balcony and looked over the roof to see what is going on.

"Police had cordoned off the little area around the pavement and there was just a guy standing on my doorway and they were pouring huge, five-litre bottles of water over his head.

"He was standing, he seemed to be OK. After probably about 10-15 minutes he managed to walk unaided into the ambulance. I hope that means he is OK; the ambulance certainly didn't rush off with sirens."

As she watched, around 25 moped riders arrived - many appearing to be from fast-food delivery companies such as UberEats and Deliveroo.

"I'm guessing maybe they had heard what happened and came down because they can't have all been driving round together," she said.

She added: "I had thought someone must have chucked petrol or acid on him or something because they were covering him in water, but I have never seen that reaction to an attack, I thought maybe there had been an accident.

"I had literally just walked in the house, I was stood where he was 10 minutes earlier.

"I don't think I would have been attacked but it could have been quite easy to have been caught in the crossfire here or at the other locations."

Police cordons had been lifted by the morning, but the street remained strewn with empty plastic bottles, Ms Cobbold said.


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