20:02, October 31 266 0 theguardian.com

2018-10-31 20:02:08
Acid attacks: offenders face jail for possession without licence

Possessing potentially lethal acid without a licence is now a criminal offence, with offenders facing a two-year prison sentence.

Since 1 July, members of the public wishing to import, acquire or use sulphuric acid above 15% concentration have been required to have a Home Office licence. Applicants need a legitimate purpose for a licence and must disclose any relevant health issues and previous criminal offences.

From 1 November onwards, individuals who are in possession of sulphuric acid, above a concentration of 15% and without a licence, should dispose of the substance according to the manufacturer’s instructions or face prosecution.

The crime minister, Victoria Atkins, said: “Acid attacks are utterly appalling crimes and we are determined to put a stop to them.

“Sulphuric acid can be a very dangerous substance. We are taking this threat seriously and are making it harder to possess and purchase corrosive substances.

“The changes we have introduced will help to ensure that sulphuric acid is kept away from those who mean harm. I am sure that all retailers will enforce the new restrictions.”

Professional users do not need a licence providing they are using sulphuric acid for the purposes connected with their trade or business. They may be asked to provide evidence of this and explain the intended use.

Earlier this year, retailers – including Wickes, B&Q and Tesco – voluntarily signed up to a ban on selling products containing harmful levels of acid or corrosive substances to under-18s.

A number of high-profile cases in the past year drew attention to a spike in acid attacks across the country.

John Tomlin, 25, who hurled acid through a car window at an aspiring model and her cousin, was jailed for 16 years. Resham Khan and Jameel Muhktar suffered life-changing injuries to their faces and bodies in the unprovoked attack on Khan’s 21st birthday in Beckton, east London.



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