Newham shop keepers unite to ban sale of acids to under 21s
PUBLISHED: 15:53 03 October 2017 | UPDATED: 16:09 03 October 2017
Retailers in Newham have pledged to crack down on selling acid and other noxious liquids to young people by challenging their age.
Some 87 shops have signed up to a new scheme by Newham Council and the Metropolitan Police to restrict the use of corrosive chemicals following a spate of attacks across the borough.
The agreement means they will ask the age of any customer who looks under 25 and refuse to sell to anyone under the age of 21.
Of the 161 shops approached so far, 23 are awaiting signatures from the shop owners while 51 have confirmed they will no longer sell these products. No businesses have refused to join the scheme.
Earlier today, home secretary Amber Rudd announced government plans to ban the sale of acids to under 18s.
There have been several high-profile cases of noxious liquids being used as a weapon in Newham in recent months.
Two cousins were attacked at a set of traffic lights in Beckton in June, while six people were injured and a 15-year-old was arrested following an incident at the Stratford Centre on September 23.
Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales said: “We know that in Newham acid has increasingly become the weapon of choice for young criminals, as a result of tougher sentences for knife crime.”
He added: “I am pleased with the positive response of Newham’s business community to this scheme, and I congratulate them on their community minded and responsible attitude towards the sale of these highly dangerous products.”
Participating businesses have already begun displaying signs warning shoppers that age and identity will be challenged at purchase.
Most victims and suspects of acid attacks are male, with the majority age range being from mid-teens to mid-twenties, according to police figures.
Newham MPs Stephen Timms and Lyn Brown have also backed the scheme.
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