Members of the emergency services in green biohazard encapsulated suits work to afix the tent over the bench where former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found on March 4 in critical condition at The Maltings shopping centre in Salisbury, southern England. Picture: AFP
Members of the emergency services in green biohazard encapsulated suits work to afix the tent over the bench where former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found on March 4 in critical condition at The Maltings shopping centre in Salisbury, southern England. Picture: AFP

British nerve-attack alarm

BRITISH police in Wiltshire have declared a 'major incident' after two people were believed to have been exposed to an 'unknown substance' in Amesbury.

The location is reportedly just a few kilometres from where a shocking nerve-agent attack took place on British soil against a former Russian diplomat and his daughter earlier this year.

A man and woman, both in their 40s, were found unconscious in their Amesbury home on Saturday evening local time.

 

Both are in a critical condition in Salisbury District Hospital, Wiltshire police say.

Police have issued a statement saying they are not certain if a crime has been committed. But several locations the couple visited in the Amesbury and Salisbury areas before falling ill have been cordoned off for investigations.

Paramedics responding to the scene intially believed the pair had fallen ill after taking tainted heroin or crack cocaine.

"However, further testing is now ongoing to establish the substance which led to these patients becoming ill and we are keeping an open mind as to the circumstances surrounding this incident," police said.

"At this stage it is not yet clear if a crime has been committed. A police investigation has been established.

"In addition, a full multi-agency response has been co-ordinated."

 

A) The town of Amesbury where the man and women were found unconscious. B) Boscome Down military testing facility. C) Durrington
A) The town of Amesbury where the man and women were found unconscious. B) Boscome Down military testing facility. C) Durrington

 

A Public Health England (PHE) spokesman said: "The current advice from PHE England, based upon the number of casualties affected, is that it is not believed that there is a significant health risk to the wider public. This will be continually assessed as further information becomes known".

Police added: "The public can expect to see an increased police presence in and around Amesbury and Salisbury."

Parts of Wiltshire were locked down for more than two months as special investigators worked to gather evidence and clean up the risk of further exposure to the deadly Novichok nerve agent used to attack the Skripals.

Amesbury is also adjacent the Boscome Down military aircraft testing sight, and the famous neolithic landscape of Stonehenge.

 

 

Police officers in protective suits and masks work near the scene where former double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia were discovered after being attacked with a nerve-agent on March 16, 2018 in Salisbury, England. Picture: Getty
Police officers in protective suits and masks work near the scene where former double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia were discovered after being attacked with a nerve-agent on March 16, 2018 in Salisbury, England. Picture: Getty

 

 

NERVE AGENT ATTACK

Yulia Skripal and her father Surgei, a former colonel in Russian military intelligence who betrayed dozens of agents to Britains MI6 foreign spy service, were found unconscious on a public bench in Salisbury on March 4.

Ms Skripal, 33, was in a coma for 20 days.

British intelligence revealed in May the Skripals were poisoned with Novichok, a deadly group of nerve agents developed by the Soviet military in the 1970s and 1980s.

Prime Minister Teresa May blamed Moscow for the poisoning.

It was the first known use of a military-grade nerve agent on European soil since World War II. Allies in Europe and the United States sided with Mrs May's view and ordered the biggest expulsion of Russian diplomats since the height of the Cold War.

Russia retaliated by expelling Western diplomats. Moscow has repeatedly denied any involvement and accused the British intelligence agencies of staging the attack to stoke anti-Russian hysteria.

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