Police Officer Rushed To Hospital Over Concerns Of Exposure To Nerve Agent

Counter-terrorism police in UK investigating poisoning by ‘unknown substance

Police said they have established that the couple, who remain in a critical condition in hospital, were exposed to the nerve agent after "handling a contaminated item".

Late on Wednesday, Basu said tests had shown the pair had been exposed to Novichok, the same nerve agent that poisoned Yulia and Sergei Skripal in Salisbury on March 4.

Our reporter Robert Murphy has been following events in Amesbury.

The incident began to unfold on Saturday, when paramedics were called to the couple's home after Ms Sturgess appeared to have a seizure, foaming at the mouth and eventually collapsing.

One theory understood to be under investigation is whether the pair inadvertently found the container used to transport the nerve agent in the Skripal attack before being discarded.

Police are investigating the area after a man and woman fell ill close to Salisbury where ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter were struck down earlier this year.

Moscow has rejected British accusations of involvement in the Skripal poisoning, which sparked a diplomatic crisis that saw Russian Federation and the West expelling dozens of diplomats in tit-for-tat moves.

Scientists at the Porton Down defense laboratory concluded they had been poisoned with Novichok, a type of nerve agent developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

"Detectives are working as quickly and as diligently as possible to identify the source of the contamination".

What's not known, or the police won't say, is where the couple came into contact with the nerve agent.

'Meticulous and systematic searches are under way at a number of sites'.

Public Health England has repeated "highly precautionary advice" for those who have visited Queen Elizabeth Gardens in Salisbury; a property at John Baker House, Rolleston Street, Salisbury; a property on Muggleton Road, Amesbury; Boots the chemist, Stonehenge Walk, Amesbury, and the Baptist church on Raleigh Crescent, Amesbury. The Telegraph reported that the woman's name is Dawn Sturgess, and the man is Charlie Rowley.

"He started feeling really hot and sweaty.so he went and had a shower, he was in his bedroom for a while and then he came out and felt a bit weird and started acting all amusing", said Hobson. "So while the public at large are at very low risk from this material, until the source is found there is a remote chance that someone else might come into contact with it".

The initial police view was that drugs caused Sturgess and Rowley's severe illness.

A SALISBURY family are supporting local police officers by collecting bottles of water and snacks and delivering them to Amesbury and Salisbury police stations.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said the "working theory is now that this exposure was accidental, rather than a second attack along the lines of that on Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury".

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