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More businesses in Tower Hamlets join the fight against acid attacks

PUBLISHED: 18:12 08 February 2018 | UPDATED: 18:21 08 February 2018

Cllr Asma Begum, mayor John Biggs, David Doughty and Kristian Dalley from Tower Hamlets’ trading standards. Picture: Rhiannon Long.

Cllr Asma Begum, mayor John Biggs, David Doughty and Kristian Dalley from Tower Hamlets' trading standards. Picture: Rhiannon Long.

Archant

The mayor of Tower Hamlets visited shops in Poplar today as part of his drive to encourage traders to sign up to his acid charter.

Mr Doughty signed the charter today. Picture: Rhiannon Long.Mr Doughty signed the charter today. Picture: Rhiannon Long.

To date more than 100 businesses in the borough have signed the pledge which means it will not sell corrosive products to customers aged under 18 and ask for ID to those who look younger than 25.

Tower Hamlets has experienced the second highest rate of acid attacks in London in the past three years, with 98 offences between January 2015 and October 2017.

There were 289 attacks in neighbouring Newham - the highest number in the city.

Mayor Biggs said: “It’s about getting retailers to sign up to responsible working, making sure they don’t sell to people under age, and making sure people get good advice when buying corrosive substances.

The DIY store has signed up to the acid charter. Picture: Rhiannon Long.The DIY store has signed up to the acid charter. Picture: Rhiannon Long.

“There’s a lot of fear in our community, and we need to make sure we keep our people safe.

“We’re making sure people are safe in our community, and making sure young people who might think this is a clever thing to do realise this is outrageous criminal behaviour.

Poplar DIY owners Mick and David Doughty signed the pledge today promising their business, which has been on Poplar High Street for more than 40 years, would be vigilant against the sale of corrosive products like drain cleaner to under 18s.

David, 50, said: “We sell about a dozen bottles a week, but of all the years I’ve sold it, I don’t think I’ve had any kids ask for it. But we signed up because you can’t be too sure.

“We don’t sell to under 18s, we’ve taken it off the shelves and put it behind the counter so they can’t steal it, and we’ve taken it away from the window so they can’t see it.

The acid charter is one of the first steps the mayor is taking in his crackdown on the crime.

His recent petition to the government pressed for tougher legislation on the sale of acid, along with bringing sentencing of offenders into line with knife crime.

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