A MAN left severely injured after acid was sprayed in his face said it is vital to reduce these attacks as it was revealed Southend has seen an increase.

Darren Pidgeon, now 29, needed multiple skin grafts after he was the victim of an unprovoked attack in Kingsmere, Thundersley, two years ago.

Mr Pidgeon was rushed to Broomfield Hospital, in Chelmsford, which specialises in burns and plastic surgery, where skin from his leg was used to try to heal burns to his face, head, shoulder and arm.

The painter and decorator, from Rayleigh, has since moved to London as he is terrified of being attacked again.

New figures from Essex Police show a rise in the number of acid attacks in Southend since 2012.

In 2014 and 2015 there were in total seven incidents in the borough involving acid, ammonia, bleach or a chemical. This compares to zero incidents in 2012 and 2013.

The father-of two said: “It’s not good. They need to make it so there’s less access to acid.

They need to clamp down on it. It is important to stop access to it and somehow stop selling it, but I don’t know how they can do that.

“I’m shocked by it. I hear all the time now about it happening, it’s a common thing and seems to happen quite a lot.

“I never knew a lot about these attacks before it happened to me. I never knew about acid before or had heard of Katie Piper or met anyone else who had been attacked.”

TWO people will appear in court in connection with the attack on Mr Pidgeon.

Ashley Russell, 29, of Sunnedon, Basildon, and Christina Storey, 31, of Studland Avenue, Wickford, appeared at Basildon Crown Court charged with conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm, which they both denied.

Russell will attend his trial on March 14.

Storey will attend a pre-trial review at the same court on February 15.