Essex acid attack
Lee Elliott (L) was scalded by the attack and may lose sight in one eye whilst the British Transport Police (BTP) would like to speak to the man on the rightFacebook / BTP

A 17-year-old may lose the sight in his left eye after an acid attack in Essex which left five teenage boys in hospital. British Transport Police (BTP) are investigating the violent attack at the Ockendon train station shortly after 12.40am on Sunday 22 May.

Police believe a man who was travelling towards Barking with nine other men left the train and approached the five friends who were waiting on the platform. After chatting with them police believe the man then removed his hand from behind his back exposing a bottle that contained unknown liquid that was then squirted over the victims.

The man was then said to have made his getaway on the departing train towards Barking on the C2C line. The injured boys, all aged between 16 and 18, were treated with injuries consistent with substance burns.

Investigating Officer Detective Sergeant Gail McKemmie said: "This was a particularly vicious and alarming assault which has left some of the victims with potentially life changing injuries. This was an unprovoked and violent incident and it is essential that those responsible are identified and brought to justice.

"Although our investigation is in its early stages, it would appear that this was a random and isolated incident. If you think you recognise the man in the CCTV image, I'd urge you to get in touch as we think he has vital information that could assist this investigation."

One of the boys, Lee Elliott from Tilbury, may permanently lose the sight in his left eye while another teenager suffered potentially life-changing injuries. His mum Tanya, 43, said to The Sun: "They were all scared. They told them they didn't want any trouble and with that they squirted them. My boy got it the worst. I was so scared and shocked when I heard.

"He is nervous to go out. He walks round with a towel on his head because he doesn't like the light. He sits in his bedroom most of the time. The doctors have said he was very lucky.

"We will have to wait a couple of days to find out if it will be ok. Now today he says he can only see a green blur and cannot see out of it properly."

Anyone with any information is asked to contact BTP by calling 0800 40 50 40 or texting 61016 quoting reference 312 of 24/05/2016. Alternatively, information can be passed anonymously to independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.