British Police Hunt Object That May Have Poisoned Couple With Novichok

SWNS    
     AMESBURY A policeman stands outside the home where the couple were found unconscious

SWNS AMESBURY A policeman stands outside the home where the couple were found unconscious

The hospital is where former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, and his daughter Yulia, were treated after being poisoned by novichok in March.

Police officer being tested at hospital for possible contact with nerve agent in the United Kingdom; Kitty Logan reports.

Calling the new incident "very worrying", the Kremlin later said it was unaware of any official British requests to Russian Federation for help in relation to the investigation.

That incident triggered a major diplomatic crisis with Russian Federation after Britain and its allies accused Moscow of trying to kill them - a charge strongly denied by the Kremlin. The safety of the public and our officers remains paramount and the searches will take longer because of the precautions that we must take to ensure there is no outstanding risk.

Rowley and Sturgess were found Saturday unconscious at a home about eight miles from where the Skripals were poisoned.

British Home Secretary Sajid Javid has accused Vladimir Putin of using Britain as a "dumping ground for poison" after the latest infections. British media have identified them as Charlie Rowley, 45, and Dawn Sturgess, 44.

But Russia quickly hit back, denouncing Britain for playing "dirty political games" and demanding London apologise.

After the Skripal poisoning, police investigators in protective suits scoured Salisbury. The United States and European allies took the side of Britain and blamed Russian Federation for the incident. "That is part of the anger I feel about the Russian state (in the Skripal case). that they chose to use clearly a very, very toxic, highly unsafe weapon". "That is clearly the main line of inquiry".

Wiltshire Police are aware of the incident and are not commenting at this time.

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Officials have insisted that the risk to the wider public is low.

Javid said on Thursday (Friday NZT) the nerve agent involved in the current case was the same variety as that used against Skripal and his daughter, but it's not clear whether the two samples came from the same batch.

- Six sites visited by Mr Rowley and Ms Sturgess before they fell ill were cordoned off. They also urged locals not to pick up any unknown items.

"The working assumption would be that these are victims of either the outcome of the previous attack, or something else, but not that they were directly targeted", security minister Ben Wallace told the BBC.

"They could tell us what happened, what they did and fill in some of the significant gaps that we are trying to pursue". "However, on the other hand, we have no information about which substances were used or how they were used".

"He was rocking against the wall and his eyes were all red and pricked and he started sweating loads and dribbling, so I had to phone an ambulance for him", Hobson recalls.

The Soviet Union first developed Novichok agents, which are believed to be much more powerful than more famous chemical weapons like VX and sarin, in the 1970s and 1980s.

Roughly 100 counter-terror officers are working "round the clock" with Wiltshire Police to identify the source of contamination, according to the Met. The two were dating and had reportedly been at a function Saturday afternoon at Amesbury Baptist Church.

"We don't know what's going on. Probably just very bad luck".

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