Hackney shopkeepers agree to restrict sales of corrosive substances

Hackney Council has renewed its campaign for shopkeepers to stop selling the dangerous products and report any suspicious attempted purchases.

Products containing acid and ammonia can cause serious burns, blindness and irreversible damage when they come in to contact with skin. Corrosive substances like drain cleaner have recently been used in violent attacks in Hackney and other parts of London.

Although there are currently no legal restrictions on the sale, the Council runs a voluntary scheme where shops agree to ask customers who appear to be under the age of 21 for ID and to not sell acid or ammonia to anyone they suspect may cause harm with these products.

Four shops signed up to a trial last year, but the Council is now calling for all shops to join. All shop keepers who sign up will be trained by council officers and provided with a notice which tells customers they are a responsible trader who will not sell to under 21s.


Philip Glanville, Mayor of Hackney
“I’m glad that the Home Office is considering tough new restrictions on corrosive substances. We have taken the initiative by asking shop keepers to voluntarily ID customers and report suspicious sales. Over the next few weeks we’re going door to door handing out leaflets and speaking to shop keepers to ask them to join our scheme and help keep these dangerous substances off the street.

"Our trading standards officers already carry out test purchases and enforce against the sale of restricted items to underage people – a shopkeeper was recently prosecuted and fined £2000 for selling a knife to a teenager in Hackney – so we will certainly enforce the sale of corrosive substances if there is a change in the law that allows us to do so.”
Philip Glanville, Mayor of Hackney

Traders wishing to sign up or find out more should contact trading.standards@hackney.gov.uk or 020 8356 4929.