Search

Readers' Letters

Editor’s comment: Why the Gazette is calling for tougher regulation on sale of acid online

PUBLISHED: 11:09 30 August 2017 | UPDATED: 11:20 30 August 2017

The t-shirt was badly scorched and burned and completely dissolved in places when strong acid drain unblocker was poured on it.

The t-shirt was badly scorched and burned and completely dissolved in places when strong acid drain unblocker was poured on it.

Archant photographer

I guess I was hoping the drain cleaner wouldn’t do anything.

Admittedly, we wouldn’t have had much of a story if the industrial-strength acid we bought online hadn’t burnt through anything. But better that than the awful proof of how potent – and easily available – this stuff actually is.

Watching what it did to the out-of-date steak was unpleasant enough, though I find meat pretty gross at the best of times and after all the thing was already dead. Nonetheless, it “cooked” it in seconds; the steak went hard, grey and rubbery and I think we were all in little doubt as to how damaging it would have been to anything living.

But seeing it destroy the shirt was the eye-opener for me. It burnt holes straight through it and turned what remained into solid, sticky ash that would almost certainly have adhered to any poor sod wearing it. It had to be chipped off the laminated tray when the reaction had finished, and was little more than a thin lattice of coal when we got it free.

Time was, we didn’t want to be specific about the products people were using as weapons, or components of weapons, for fear of educating would-be attackers. And there may be readers of today’s Gazette who feel we have been irresponsible in specifying how to obtain a lethal substance that can be used to destroy lives.

But in the same way as people don’t need telling that knives are sharp, I don’t think we can rely on ignorance. The ease with which kids can get hold of acid can only send the message that carrying and using it isn’t a big deal; that it’s a low-risk game compared with gun or knife crime.

Of course we need to stop kids wanting to carry it in the first place, and that is a complex process involving education, intervention and sentencing. But the retailers profiting from this misery must be held to account, too.

Related articles

Latest Hackney Stories

16:00

Clapton will look to bounce back after their eight-game winning streak was brought to an end by league leaders Redbridge in a 2-1 defeat at Oakside.

Academy boss would love to see more fans and first-team players at Brisbane Road next week to support youngsters against Sholing

12:00

Leyton Orient will have a new face, or should that be faces, in the dugout this weekend when they host Dover Athletic in the National League on Saturday.

11:15

England admit they were below required standards despite remaining in cruise control against a Cricket Australia XI on day three of their final Ashes warm-up match.

10:30

England striker Jodie Taylor scored twice ahead of the upcoming international break, as Arsenal made their extra quality count by thrashing Watford in the FA WSL Continental Tyres Cup on Thursday night.

Leatherhead player-manager discusses why the Whites are doing so well this season and how he’ll get behind O’s Ross Embleton this weekend

09:59

I drove east around the M25 to Enfield after Arsene Wenger’s press conference at London Colney on Thursday to make the short trip to Hotspur Way to hear Mauricio Pochettino talk about the North London derby.

14:11

Many of Hackney’s 3,000 families stuck in temporary accommodation have no real prospect of getting an affordable home in the borough, according to a council chief.



Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read

Show Job Lists