Two girls aged eight and three remain in hospital with their mum after a chemical attack in Clapham - with the youngest girl and mum in a potentially life-changing condition.

Police were called to Lessar Avenue at 7.25pm last night (Wednesday) after a man had thrown a child to the ground and thrown an alkaline substance.

The man attempted to make off in a car but crashed with a stationary vehicle, and then ran in the direction of Clapham Common.

Police say it may be “some time” before hospital staff are able to say how serious the injuries caused might be.

Five officers who were also injured as they responded to the incident have all been treated and have left hospital.

Police believe the man and woman are known to each other and investigations continue.

Superintendent Gabriel Cameron, a senior officer who polices in Lambeth, has updated on last night’s events: "Firstly, I want to acknowledge the considerable public concern following this terrible incident, and update on the injuries suffered by the victims.

"I am sure the public will join me in saying they are in our thoughts and we wish them the fullest possible recovery.

"Three women - two in their 30s and one in her 50s – who were injured when they bravely came to the aid of the family, have all been discharged from hospital with minor burns injuries.

“A man in his 50s who also helped declined hospital treatment for minor injuries he suffered.

"Five officers who were injured as they responded have all been treated and have left hospital.

"All these members of the public, and my officers, deserve enormous recognition and praise for coming to the aid of this woman and children in what must have been a terrifying scenario.

“We will provide them with all the support we can.

"I also want to commend nearby hotel staff after victims and officers sought refuge and water there following the incident.”

While this appears a “targeted attack”, police say he is a “dangerous individual”, and officers are urgently appealing for anyone with information to come forward to help with the investigation.

The Metropolitan Police said it will release more information about him as soon as they can, and an extensive crime scene is in place.

Superintendent Gabriel Cameron added: "Any members of the public who saw what happened can help us by calling 101quoting reference CAD 7790/31Jan.

“I also urge local people and drivers to check their doorbell and dash cameras for any footage that might have captured a man fleeing the area, and to please contact us immediately.

"I don't underestimate the impact this news will have had on the local community.

“My officers are in the area carrying out patrols and I urge you to speak to them if you have any information or concerns you want to share."