Major incident declared amid fears two exposed to unknown substance

Major incident is declared as man and woman in their 40s fight for life after being exposed to unknown substance just seven miles from site of nerve attack on Russian spy and his daughter

  • A man and a woman, both in their 40s, were found unconscious on Saturday
  • It was initially believed that the they fell ill after using heroin or crack cocaine 
  • Further testing is now ongoing to establish the substance that made them ill 
  • Now, Wiltshire Police have declared a major incident in Amesbury, Wiltshire
  • The town is just seven miles from where Sergei and Yulia Skripal were poisoned with a nerve agent 

A major incident has been declared in Wiltshire after it was suspected two people were exposed to an unknown substance in Amesbury. 

The town is just seven miles from Salisbury, where Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned with a nerve agent in March. 

The man and woman, both in their 40s, are in a critical condition at Salisbury District Hospital, Wiltshire Police said.

Wiltshire Police said it was not clear if a crime had been committed, although a number of scenes in the Amesbury and Salisbury area have been cordoned off as a precaution. 

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A major incident has been declared in Wiltshire after it was suspected two people might have been exposed to an unknown substance in Amesbury. They were found unconscious at an address in Muggleton Road (above, file photo)

The pair were found unconscious at an address in Muggleton Road on Saturday evening.

Police said it was initially believed that they may have used heroin or crack cocaine from a contaminated batch of drugs. 

‘However, further testing is now ongoing to establish the substance which led to these patients becoming ill,’ a police spokesman said.


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‘We are keeping an open mind as to the circumstances surrounding this incident.

‘At this stage it is not yet clear if a crime has been committed.’  

Wiltshire Police announced they had declared a major incident in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

The town is just seven miles from Salisbury, where Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia (pictured together) were poisoned with a nerve agent in March

A spokesman said a police investigation has been launched and a full multi-agency response has been co-ordinated.

A number of locations, believed to be the areas the man and woman frequented in the period before they fell ill, will be cordoned off overnight in and around the Amesbury and Salisbury area as a precautionary measure, police added. 

‘The public can expect to see an increased police presence in and around Amesbury and Salisbury,’ the spokesman added.

It comes four months after Sergei, 66, and Yulia, 33, were poisoned with chemical agent Novichok and found unconscious on a park bench in Salisbury on March 4.

Wiltshire Police’s detective sergeant Nick Bailey fell ill after being exposed to the nerve agent while investigating the attack. 

Sergei Skripal (pictured) and his daughter were poisoned with chemical agent Novichok and found unconscious on a park bench in Salisbury on March 4

Yulia Skripal (pictured in May) left hospital in April and gave her first interview last month, outlining her desire to return to Russia in the future despite the poisoning

The pair, along with DS Bailey, were left fighting for their lives, but have now been discharged from Salisbury District Hospital. 

Sergei Skripal was part of a spy swap between Russia and Britain in 2010 and had since made Salisbury his home. 

He was released from hospital last month after spending weeks in an induced coma.

His daughter left hospital in April and gave her first interview last month, outlining her desire to return to Russia in the future despite the poisoning.

‘The fact that a nerve agent was used to do this is shocking,’ she told Reuters.

‘My life has been turned upside down,’ she said.

Yulia, who was in a coma for 20 days,  added: ‘I woke to the news that we had both been poisoned.

Sergei, 66, and Yulia, 33, were poisoned with chemical agent Novichok and found unconscious on a park bench in Salisbury on March 4. Pictured, the scene after the poisoning in Salisbury

‘We are so lucky to have both survived this attempted assassination. 

‘Our recovery has been slow and extremely painful,’ she said in her written English statement.

‘As I try to come to terms with the devastating changes thrust upon me both physically and emotionally, I take one day at a time and want to help care for my Dad till his full recovery. In the longer term I hope to return home to my country.’

The poisoning led to relations between Russia and Britain reaching lows not seen since the Cold War after the latter pointed the finger at Moscow.

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