United Kingdom police declare 'major incident' in Wiltshire

Victims were exposed to a mystery substance near Salisbury

Victims were exposed to a mystery substance near Salisbury

Robert Yuill, a local councillor, said the emergency services reaction to the incident was "far less intense" than after the Skripal poisoning.

British investigators later determined that Sergei Skripal, a former Russian army colonel who defected and sold secrets to MI6 before seeking refuge in England, had been targeted with the nerve agent Novichok.

Moscow has denied any involvement.

Police also said they have cordoned off "a number of scenes" the victims frequented in the period before they fell ill in both Amesbury and Salisbury as a "precautionary measure".

They were initially believed to have fallen ill after using crack cocaine or heroin from a contaminated batch, but are now "receiving treatment for suspected exposure to an unknown substance", Wiltshire Police said.

Wiltshire Police initially thought that the couple had taken contaminated crack cocaine or heroin, but then chose to carry out further tests and on Wednesday declared a major incident.

The British government eventually moved to expel Russian diplomats, and Russia, which insists it is not to blame in the Skripal case, retaliated and kicked out dozens of British officials.

Wiltshire's Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson said the police had worked hard at "containing any risk that might be there", the BBC reported. The spokesman added the situation would be "continually assessed".

United Kingdom counter-terrorism police are now leading the investigation, though Basu said it was unclear how the two people came into contact with the nerve agent or whether they had been specifically targeted.

He said that Sturgess fell ill first then Rowley later on.

Mr Basu said both the recent patients are still in a critical condition.

A witness told Sky News that one of the victims had appeared to be foaming at the mouth, "sweating loads, dribbling and. making amusing noises". "He was rocking backwards and forwards", Hobson said.

He said the pair were "not church members or regulars".

Salisbury and surrounding towns have only recently begun to recover from the frightening weeks at the centre of an worldwide spy drama.

Police from 40 departments in England and Wales returned home in June after months working on the Skripal case, and specially trained workers have spent months decontaminating sites around the city.

The British government's emergency response committee had met over the incident in Wiltshire, southwest England, and ministers were being regularly updated.

These include: 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 Amesbury Baptist Center on Butterfield Drive, Amesbury.

"We wanted to know what happened".

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