A three-year-old boy who suffered serious burns in a deliberate acid attack in Worcester has been released from hospital.
The toddler was in a pushchair with his family in the Home Bargains store on Shrub Hill Retail Park, Tallow Hill, when a corrosive substance was “thrown or sprayed” over him, according to West Mercia Police.
He was treated in hospital for burns to his face and one arm before being released on Sunday afternoon.
A 39-year-old man from Wolverhampton has been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm and remains in police custody.
The incident happened at 2.15pm on Saturday and police have released images of three men they would like to speak to as part of the investigation.
Chief Superintendent Mark Travis said the boy is recovering at home with his family, who are being supported by specialist officers.
He told Sky News: “A young family were out shopping and a substance appears to either have been thrown or sprayed towards a three-year-old child who was in a pushchair.”
He added: “We are uncertain about the long-term implications of those burns, but we do hope that these won’t be life-changing injuries.”
Ch Supt Travis renewed the appeal for information about three men seen in images released by police.
“We are really, really keen that the images we have released will hopefully bring forward information about people who maybe able to help us, who were in the store at the time of the incident.
“If those people can come forward or people could identify those people it will help us understand the motivation for this.”
A local shop worker, who did not want to be named, told the Press Association he saw a number of emergency services outside the store on Saturday.
“There were a couple of fire engines and a couple of police as well.
“Customers were still going in and then they completely shut up at about 3pm.”
A spokesman for the West Midlands Ambulance Service said it was called to Home Bargains at 2.24pm on Saturday “to reports of a young boy who had suffered a severe reaction to an unknown substance”.
“An ambulance was sent and arrived in eight minutes. The crew assessed the boy at the scene and liaised with the trust’s hazardous area response team for specialist advice.
“After treatment, he was taken to hospital in Worcester. We have no update on his condition.”
Robin Walker, the MP for Worcester, described the attack as “appalling”.
“My first thoughts are with the family of this child and medics providing urgent care,” he wrote on Twitter. ”[V]ital that the public support the police to bring this investigation to a successful conclusion as quickly as possible.”
A Home Bargains spokesperson said: “Our thoughts are with this young child and his family at this very difficult time.”
Anyone with information that could help police with their enquiries should call 999 quoting incident 442s of 21 July 2018.
Alternatively, information can be provided anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.