Home Secretary Amber Rudd has announced a ban on the sale of acid to under 18s in the wake of a string of “absolutely revolting” attacks.

Amber RuddAmber Rudd the sale of sulphuric acid would be “drastically” limited (Peter Byrne/PA)

She also told the Tory Party conference that the sale of sulphuric acid would be “drastically” limited, given its use in homemade explosives.

It came as Ms Rudd made a raft of policy announcements, including:

:: Up to 15 years in prison for people who repeatedly view extremist material online

:: Major investment in new technology that will track down indecent images of children online and remove them at an unprecedented rate

:: A consultation on new laws around offensive weapons

Ms Rudd also told party activists in Manchester that security services had foiled seven terrorist plots this year.

Amber RuddAmber Rudd (Peter Byrne/PA)

The Home Secretary said that acid attacks were “absolutely revolting”, adding: “I am also announcing a new offence to prevent the sale of acids to under 18s.

“Furthermore, given its use in the production of so-called ‘mother of Satan’ homemade explosives, I also announce my intention to drastically limit the public sale of sulphuric acid.

“This is how we will help make our communities safer as crime changes.”

She told the conference there had been “an exponential surge in the volume of child sexual abuse referrals”, as she unveiled a £600,000 investment in new software that trawls the web for images of child sexual abuse.

Amber RuddAmber Rudd (Peter Byrne/PA)

Ms Rudd said the technology will get the images taken down “at an unprecedented rate”.

She added: “Our investment will also enable internet companies to pro-actively search for, and destroy, illegal images in their systems.

“We want them to start using it as soon as they can.

“Our question to them will be ‘if not, why not’. And I will demand very clear answers.”

Ms Rudd also outlined a new consultation on offensive weapons, which will be published in the autumn.

New measures could include:

:: Stopping the sale of knives online to someone under the age of 18

A general view of a man in a hoodie holding a knife(Katie Collins/PA)

:: Making it illegal to keep certain types of weapons – such as flick knives and zombie knives – at home

:: Making it illegal to sell the most harmful corrosive substances to someone under the age of 18

:: Preventing people having a corrosive substance in a public place, without good reason

Ms Rudd said: “We are going to prevent children purchasing knives online, and we are going to stop people carrying acid in public if they don’t have a good reason.”

Ms Rudd said that extending the jail sentence for those viewing extremist content online would close an important gap in the legislation, with tougher sentences only applying at the moment if people have downloaded or stored the material.