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Shops in Islington urged to restrict sales of acid to over-18s and to challenge buyers who look under-25

Islington Council is urging shops in the borough only to sell corrosive substances to people aged over 18, and to use the ‘Challenge 25’ policy of asking for ID if a shopper appears to be under the age of 25.

Following a series of horrifying acid attacks across London, Islington Council is asking local retailers to apply the Challenge 25 policy that is already widely in use for people who want to buy age-restricted products such as alcohol and tobacco.

Under the policy, retailers ask for ID to prove someone is 18 or over if they think the buyer may be 25 or younger. This good-practice policy asks retailers voluntarily only to sell acids to over-18s, using a Challenge 25 approach.  There is currently no legal age restriction on sales of strong acids or corrosive substances.

The council’s letter also advises retailers, “no corrosive substances in a location where it can be stolen, such as your shop entrance”… “assess who wants to buy it and why”… and… “don’t sell it, if it doesn’t feel right”.

Cllr Andy Hull, Islington Council’s executive member for community safety, said:

“Acid attacks are horrific and we support tighter restrictions on the sale of acids and corrosive substances, and tougher penalties for those who use them as weapons.

“Because of the terrible damage that acid can do when it is used as a weapon, we’re asking all shops in Islington to adopt a ‘Challenge 25’ approach – checking the ID of any shopper who appears to be under 25 – when someone tries to buy acid, and politely to refuse selling it to under-18s.

“This should reduce the risk of these destructive and dangerous products being sold to young people.”

Leaflets will be distributed to shops which are believed to sell corrosive substances, made available through local trade associations and publicised via the council website.

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Chris Roe, Media Manager 
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