STOP THE ATTACKS - Express launches campaign to end acid violence


The Express reveals how deadly, flesh-melting acids can be bought online for as little as £5 – without even the most basic checks.

Last week beautician Adele Bellis, who was left “horrifically disfigured” in an acid attack organised by her jealous ex-boyfriend, said her life “will never be the same” as she watched him jailed for life.

Adele Bellis Credit: REX/ Bellis Credit: REX/

Adele, 23, lost an ear, was left partially bald and has life-changing permanent scarring following a six-month campaign against her by her former partner of seven years, Anthony Riley.

Her horrific case followed that of property developer Andreas Christopheros, 30, who last week described for the first time the chilling moment when acid was thrown in his face on his own doorstep.

Andreas Christopheros Credit: SWNS/ Christopheros Credit: SWNS/

In graphic detail he recalled how he was “screaming” in pain, his face was “melting” and his eyes were “on fire” as he tried to wash off the toxic acid.

Then last month, mother-of-six Carla Whitlock, 37, uncovered her scars as she spoke of the unimaginable pain she has suffered after having acid thrown in her face. Two brothers have since been charged by police investigating the attack.

But the stories of Ms Bellis, Mr Christopheros and Ms Whitlock are just the tip of the iceberg.

Figures show that the number of hospital appointments for those being treated for horrific burns caused by corrosive material has dramatically increased, from 47 reported cases in 2005/6 to 109 in 2013/4.

The alarming stats, from the Health and Social Care Information Centre, also revealed how some of the victims were under nine years old, while males made up 58 per cent of all reported cases.

Horrified by the findings, decided to investigate just how easy and cheap it was to purchase sulphuric acid – and the results were terrifying.

Just a quick Google search revealed that 500ml of 96 per cent sulphuric acid was available online for just £4.95. A 1L bottle, or double the size, was also accessible for another pound at £5.95.

And the scariest part of all – these items were readily available to be purchased with no licence and no need to prove why you want to buy such a potentially dangerous substance.

In fact the website, which was choosing not to name, admitted that “sulphuric acid is not restricted for sale to the general public” and is available from a “multitude of websites for direct purchase and shipment”.

The Express decided to see how easy it was to purchase the 500ml bottle for £4.95, plus £5.52 post and packaging.

When it came to actually buying the acid, the website gave several options for payment including debit or credit card and even PayPal.

Then just one working day after being shipped, the highly corrosive substance arrived at Daily Express HQ by tracked delivery.


The substance came wrapped in a plastic delivery bag, with a small warning saying: “Customer notice: This package may contain hazardous material… please handle appropriately using protective gloves and goggles.”


With the plastic bag removed, there was then a cardboard box to open. After that, the acid in a small white bottle was there on the journalists’ desk, covered in a thin layer of see-through plastic.

On the bottle is a warning that the product can cause “severe causes skin burns and eye damage” as it instructed the buyer to wear protective clothing.


Many household cleaning products which contain levels of sulphuric acid, including powerful drain cleaners, can also be purchased in DIY stores.

The ease and speed of which it took them to have the sulphuric acid sat on their desk, combined with the several highly publicised cases of attacks, is why is now calling on the Government to clamp down the accessibility of such highly dangerous substances.

The news site is calling for tighter checks to be put in place to put an end to the evil of acid attacks.

They demand that the sale of any acid which could be used as a weapon be properly licensed so that it does not fall into the wrong hands.

There is an adage in the news industry that you never start a campaign you haven’t already won – writes the Express. “That is not the case here – we NEED YOUR HELP. Sign our petition and spread the campaign across all your favourite social media. Let’s get everyone involved.”

A spokesman for the website the journalists purchased the sulphuric acid from said: “Sulphuric acid has many applications from routine battery acid to refining gold and other precious metals.

“Should our customer service team have any reservations about the intended use of any product when contacted by phone or email, or should a higher than normal quantity of this product be purchased, then we have set reporting procedures to the appropriate authorities depending on what those concerns relate to.”

Jaf Shah, executive director of charity Acid Survivors Trust International, said he was surprised and shocked by how easy it was for us to buy sulphuric acid.

He said: “ASTI has an international focus and we advocate for tighter controls on the sale of acid in India, Colombia, Nepal, Pakistan and other low income countries where acid can be purchased very easily over the counter.

“But I am surprised and pretty shocked by how easy it is to purchase acid here in the UK.

“Our recently released study ‘Justice? What Justice? Tackling acid violence and ensuring justice for survivors’ highlights the easy availability of acid for criminal use in number of countries including the UK.

“It’s clear that a number of measures could be introduced including a robustly implemented licence system.”

James Berry, Conservative MP for Kingston and Surbiton, told that he will suggest exploring the growing issue of acid attacks to the Chair of the Home Affairs Committee.

He said: “For the victim, an acid attack is far worse than the life sentence the perpetrator plainly deserves.

“This savage crime must be utterly condemned and we should listen carefully to the brave survivors for constructive ideas on how to prevent this horrific practice.”

Credit: Levi Winchester,, 19 October 2015
You can find the original article here.

Posted on October 22nd 2015 by Asti Editor in ASTI news

Comments (5 so far)

  • Oh my, this is just heart-wrenching! I feel so much compassion for these people. I can’t believe how easy it is to purchase such a destructive thing. Thank you ASTI for raising awareness!

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