Crack down on shops selling acid to prevent attacks

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Attacks with corrosive substances have doubled in London over the past three years

Hammersmith & Fulham Council is tackling the risk of acid attacks by clamping down on how the substances are sold in the borough, as part of London Trading Standards Week

Following a worrying increase of acid attacks across the capital, the Trading Standards team from H&F visited local businesses on Monday (25 September) to give advice on how to sell the goods safely and responsibly.

The work included advising shopkeepers to not sell corrosive substances to shoppers who are under 18 and encouraging them to store these items behind the counter so shoppers had to ask for them and reduce the chance of theft. 

“The safety of our residents is paramount which is why the work of our Trading Standards team is so important,” said Cllr Wesley Harcourt, H&F Cabinet Member for Environment, Transport and Residents’ Services.

“Thankfully these horrific acid attacks are incredibly rare in our borough, but it is imperative we do all we can to ensure shopkeepers are responsible in how they sell items which could cause serious harm.

“This means not only selling items to people of appropriate age but storing them so that shoppers have to ask for them and they cannot be easily stolen.”

Attacks with corrosive substances have doubled in London over the past three years.

Monday’s action also involved the H&F Trading Standards team following up on test purchases of knives by children under 18. 

Knives cannot be sold to under 18s and although there is currently no age restriction on selling corrosive substances, retailers are urged to be responsible and similarly restrict their sale. 

To protect themselves, local traders are being advised to adopt a ‘challenge 25’ policy for sales of both items: if the shopper does not look to be at least 25, they should ask for proof of age.

Where the law is broken, legal action may be taken against those that have ignored previous advice about under-age sales.

London Trading Standards Week – What else is happening?

Tuesday 26 September – Letting agents and property management companies will be visited to ensure that their fees and charges are correctly displayed online and at their branches. Those who fail to meet this legal requirement will be given advice or notices of intent to prosecute.

Wednesday 27 September – The third day of action focuses on protecting residents against scammers and doorstep sales. Advice will be given on how to spot and report fraudsters and raising awareness of techniques used to trick the vulnerable.

Thursday 28 September – This day is all about supporting businesses, to help good businesses thrive and protecting residents from poor business practice. Local businesses will be given training on how they can safeguard themselves when selling restricted goods.

Friday 29 September – The team will be visiting shops selling electrical goods to ensure the products being sold to the public meet the required safety standards.

Find out more

London Trading Standards Week is to promote and raise awareness about the wide range of work carried out by Trading Standards Services across London. 

Further details about the rest of the campaign can be found on the website, www.londontradingstandards.org.uk.

Alternatively follow the week’s action on Twitter using #LTSweek.

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