Police launch manhunt after acid sprayed in teenagers’ faces in Wanstead High Street

Police would like to speak to this man in connection with the acid attack (Credit: Met)

Police would like to speak to this man in connection with the acid attack (Credit: Met) - Credit: Archant

Police are looking for a gang who sprayed acid in three teenagers’ faces before punching them to the ground and leaving one with a fractured skull.

The victims were walking down the street shortly after midnight when they were confronted by a gang of youths, whom police say were “trying to pick a fight”.

The two 18-year-olds and one 17-year-old did not engage with the group, but one of the suspects squirted a noxious substance from a sports bottle into their faces.

A number of the suspects then punched the teenage victims before running away.

Two of the victims were taken to hospital for treatment after the incident, which occurred on Saturday June 17. at around 12.30am.

The most severely injured of the victims, an 18-year-old male, was not discharged from hospital until June 30.

He suffered a fracture to the skull and is receiving ongoing treatment to his eye as a result of the noxious substance used.

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Detectives have released a CCTV footage showing a group of males near to the scene whom officers wish to speak to.

Across London, the number of acid attacks has risen from 186 between April 2014 and March 2015 to 397 in the same period in 2016-2017.

In a letter, the deputy mayor for policing Sophie Linden said she was “very concerned” by the attacks.

She said: “There is no place for this type of violence in our communities.

“The police will take a zero tolerance approach to it wherever it occurs.”

In the letter, Ms Linden said that the latest data shows that the majority of acid attacks have taken place in East London.

Most of the victims were male and all were under 40-years-old, with the majority being in their twenties.

She said: “Of course, none of this takes away from the seriousness of these incidents or from the fact that people, and Muslim women in particular, are worried about what might happen to them when they leave their homes.

“Those arrested will face the full force of the law and could receive a prison sentence of up to seven years.”

Anyone with information that may assist police should call East Area CID on 020 8345 2723 or via 101.

To remain anonymous call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.