- West Mercia Police believe the child was targeted in Home Bargains, Worcester
- Boy taken to hospital where he was treated for serious burns to arm and face
- Chief Superintendent Mark Travis said: 'We are treating this as deliberate attack'
A mother screamed 'what have they done to my baby?' as thugs hurled acid in her three-year-old son's face.
The toddler suffered serious burns as he sat in his pushchair in a shop.
The corrosive substance was sprayed or thrown over him while he was out with his family, in what police believe was a targeted attack.
A witness said the little boy's mother was holding her head in her hands as she wept outside the shop in Worcester.
West Mercia Police believe the child was deliberately targeted in Home Bargains on Shrub Hill Retail Park at Tallow Hill. They have released images of three men (pictured) they would like to speak to
The child was treated in hospital for burns to his face and arms before being released yesterday afternoon. However, the long-term effects of his injuries are unknown.
Police yesterday issued a public appeal, releasing CCTV images of three men who were seen around the child at the time of the incident.
Shocked residents of the cathedral city, known for its low crime rate, last night condemned the attack as 'absolutely pure evil'.
described the anguish of the mother, saying: 'There was a bit of
shouting and screaming in the store but then it all went quiet.
'But then this woman ran outside and started screaming that her baby had been hurt and needed help.
Chief Superintendent Mark Travis said: 'At this time we are treating this as a deliberate attack on a three-year-old boy.' Pictured: The men wish to speak to
'The mother was sitting outside the shop, screaming: 'My baby, my baby, what have they done to my baby?'
'She was in floods of tears and people from the shop were telling her they had called an ambulance and her child would be well looked after.'
The attack happened in a Home Bargains store in a retail park in the Tallow Hill area of the city on Saturday afternoon.
Shopper Rachel Bryant told The Daily Star: 'When I heard about the acid attack I couldn't believe it.
'It's horrendous to think something like this could happen to a little boy in the middle of a shop.'
Although detectives have not ruled out a racial motivation, they have said it is not thought to be linked to a march involving the far-Right English Defence League which took place in Worcester on the same day
Mayor of Worcester Jabba Riaz also said there was no link between the two incidents.
The investigation has moved rapidly, with a 39-year-old man from Wolverhampton arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm. He remains in police custody.
Chief Superintendent Mark Travis added: 'Officers are working hard to establish exactly what happened and what the substance involved was.' Pictured: The store in Worcester
Police officers conducting a search of Shrub Hill Retail Park in Worcester on Sunday
have also issued an appeal showing three men captured in a CCTV image.
In it, they are wearing casual clothing and sunglasses, and can be seen
leaving the store and heading towards the city centre.
Last night it was claimed that one of the men pictured was seen in a pub car park smoking cannabis shortly before the attack.
Superintendent Mark Travis of West Mercia Police said the boy, believed
to be from Worcester, is now recovering at home with his family.
However, he stressed that the long-term implications of the child's injuries are unknown.
The very thin blue line: he's made of paper
Pictured: The cardboard PC
The police officer looked a bit wooden, and as shoppers got closer, they could see why.
This life-size cardboard policeman was spotted in the Worcester branch of Home Bargains yesterday.
Flat-pack PCs are an increasingly popular way for cash-strapped forces to boost their street presence.
They are often seen in petrol stations to deter motorists from driving away
without paying and in shops to discourage shoplifting.
He said: 'Clearly we are working with the family to understand the motive of the attack.
'The child was with family members and was being well looked after and remained with family all the way through to hospital.'
He added: 'At this time we are treating this as a deliberate attack on a three- year-old boy.
'At the moment we are really trying to understand the motive so, consequently, the three men in the images we released, we would really like to speak to them.
'They were seen near the child at around the time of the incident and left the store shortly afterwards.
'We believe they may have information that may help us to understand what took place.'
Chief Superintendent Kevin Purcell renewed the appeal, tweeting: 'Really nasty crime this.
'These men are very distinctive. They clearly from behaviour know each other well. If you know them please let us know.'
One shopper added: 'I heard from someone who works at the shop that the man [who attacked the boy] was a skinny white guy. He was about 5ft 11ins and he ran out the shop.'
Officers are investigating a suspected acid attack on a three-year-old child on Saturday
Worcester City Council leader Marc Bayliss described the attack as 'absolutely pure evil'.
He added: 'I have never heard of an acid attack in Worcester so this is absolutely not something we have any experience of.
'If anything knows anything about this I would urge them to come forward.
'Think if this was a member of your family, an innocent child.'
Robin Walker, the MP for Worcester, described the incident as 'horrific', adding: 'The shock will be universal, anyone conducting such an attack on a small child is just appalling.
'It's an issue which rightly there has been a lot of concern in Parliament and a move to toughen sentences for any kind of acid attack.'
A Home Bargains spokesman said: 'Our thoughts are with this young child and his family at this very difficult time.'
Worcester is known for its low crime rates and in 2016, was named the safest city in England.
Cruel assaults that have left victims disfigured for life
Model and presenter Katie Piper was brutally attacked by a man enlisted by her ex-boyfriend
In recent years the headlines have been dominated by several high-profile acid attacks.
Model and presenter Katie Piper was brutally attacked by a man enlisted by her ex-boyfriend, David Lynch. In 2008 Stefan Sylvestre threw sulphuric acid at Miss Piper’s face.
The attack was caught on CCTV and both men were jailed indefinitely in 2009. Miss Piper had 250 operations to reconstruct her face.
Last November, the ex-boyfriend of reality TV star Ferne McCann was jailed for
20 years for a horrific nightclub acid attack which left 22
revellers injured. Arthur Collins hurled acid across a dance floor at
the Mangle E8 club in east London last April.
Collins was convicted of grievous bodily harm with intent and nine counts of actual bodily harm.
June last year a woman celebrating her 21st birthday suffered
‘life-changing’ injuries after a man hurled acid at her and her cousin.
Khan suffered injuries to her face, eyes and legs after John Tomlin
threw the corrosive substance over the pair as they sat in a car in east
It happened after Miss Khan’s cousin Jameel Muhktar had an argument with Tomlin, who was jailed for 16 years in April.
Berlinah Wallace was jailed for life in May after her 2015 acid attack on ex-lover Mark van Dongen in Bristol left him with such terrible injuries that he ended his life at a euthanasia clinic.