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Police hunt masked men armed with ‘corrosive liquid’ who have forced their way into five London homes

Police seal off the scene in Highfield Avenue, Brent Cross, where the first home invasion happened on Wednesday  (@999London)
Police seal off the scene in Highfield Avenue, Brent Cross, where the first home invasion happened on Wednesday (@999London)

Police are hunting a gang of balaclava-clad robbers who have forced their way into five London homes, threatening residents with knives and spraying some with a “corrosive substance”.

Four masked men are thought to have carried out the violent home invasions across just three nights this week, in west and north-west London.

The string of attacks has seen three women and a man in his 70s taken to hospital, after being sprayed with a corrosive liquid.

Scotland Yard says a team of detectives is working “around the clock” to track down the gang, but no arrests have yet been made.

The first incident happened in Highfield Avenue, Brent Cross, around 11.15pm on Wednesday.

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Four men forced entry into a terraced house before threatening a woman in her 40s who lived there with a knife, and throwing an “unknown substance” towards her.

It is not yet known whether any items were taken.

Around 11.40pm the same night, police were alerted to another incident in Flamsted Avenue, Harrow, which saw four males force their way into a home and stealing a quantity of jewellery. There were no reports of any injuries.

Shortly before 11pm the next evening (Thursday), police were called to reports of an aggravated burglary at a house in Lady Margaret Road, Southall.

Four men had broken into the property armed with a knife and a screwdriver, before spraying a corrosive liquid into the face of a man in his 70s, who was inside.

They stole a safe containing cash and jewellery.

The victim was taken to hospital with facial injuries which were later assessed to be not life-threatening or life-changing.

The fourth incident happened in Harrowdene Road, Harrow, at around 8.45pm the following night (Friday).

Four men forced entry into a property and threatened the occupant with a liquid. Jewellery and other items were stolen before the group fled. No one was injured.

The final incident happened around 9.10pm the same night.

A group of men forced entry to a property in Greenford Road, Harrow, and three women - ones in her 60s and two in their 20s - were assaulted with a corrosive substance.

All three were taken to hospital for injuries, which were later assessed to be not life-threatening or life-changing.

The suspects in each of the cases, which are being treated as linked, have been described as being dressed in dark clothing and wearing balaclavas and gloves.

They are believed to have fled in a dark-coloured vehicle.

Detective Sergeant Huss Ahmed, of the Met Police’s North West Command Unit, said: “Local people have been rightly concerned following a number of incidents that have been reported online and on social media. We of course share that concern.

“We can confirm we are treating five incidents across Harrow and Ealing as linked.

“We are advising local people to be vigilant but not alarmed - stay alert to your surroundings at night, keep doors locked and windows closed, and monitor any doorbell and security camera systems to check on any suspicious activity.

“If you have information, video or images that you think could help us, it is vital that you report it to us immediately so that we can track down and arrest the poeple responsible.”

Call 101 or tweet @MetCC with information, ref CAD8586/30Mar.

To remain 100% anonymous contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.