London police are investigating yet another acid attack in the city after a man was robbed at his own home. The man in his 40s had arranged for someone to come to his address in Dagenham to buy a phone he was selling.
The suspect turned up at the property in Downing Road at around 8pm and sprayed what police said was a "corrosive substance" into his victim's face, leaving him needing hospital treatment, and stole the phone from his hand before making off.
The victim's injuries were not life-threatening and police have made no arrests, though officers continue to investigate.
It is the latest in a spate of acid attacks in London. There has been an alarming rise in the number of acid attacks. There were 200 acid attacks in London in 2014, according to crime statistics, which shot up by 115% to 431 in 2016.
Police blame the rise on the ease of access to acid - which is freely sold without checks in shops - and that it is not obviously an offensive weapon like a knife, making it harder to arrest someone for carrying it. Acid can also be easily hidden in drinks bottles.
It is often used in robberies to immobilise the victim. There were five acid attacks in quick succession by the same gang in Hackney as they rode around the area spraying moped riders in the face and stealing the vehicle.
Of the five victims, all needed medical treatment, and one man was left with what police described as "life-changing injuries". Two teenagers have been arrested in connection with the attacks.
In another recent incident in Bow, east London, acid was sprayed onto the stomach of a pregnant woman. Mustafa Ahmed, 19, was arrested on 16 July and charged in connection with the attack, in which a man was also injured. He denies any involvement.
Police have been told to check children's drinks bottles over fears they are being used in acid attacks. It is believed that bottles of Robinsons Fruit Shoots are being filled with nitrous substances and spayed in victim's faces in order to cause "maximum injuries".