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Counter-terror police take over investigation into suspected poisoning of former Russian spy

New Scotland Yard, Metropolitan Police

Counter-terrorism Police have taken over the investigation in Salisbury, and have called on anyone who may have seen Sergei and Yulia Skripal in or around Salisbury on Sunday to contact police.

They are particularly keen to talk to anyone who visited at the nearby Zizzi restaurant or Bishop’s Mill pub, where the pair are believed to have eaten and drunk before they became ill.

The former Russian double-agent or his daughter were found unconscious outside the Maltings Shopping Centre in Salisbury on Sunday afternoon and remain critically ill in hospital.

Speaking after a meeting of the government’s emergency committee Cobra, home secretary Amber Rudd said investigators now know more details about the “unknown substance” the pair are believed to have come into contact with before falling ill and police would share further details about the substance later on Wednesday.

Counter-terrorism police have taken over the investigation in Salisbury due to the “unusual circumstances” surrounding the case, Scotland Yard has announced. In a statement, Assistant Commissioner and head of Counter Terrorism Policing, Mark Rowley, said: “Working alongside Wiltshire police and partner agencies, we continue to carry out extensive inquiries. This investigation is at the early stages and any speculation is unhelpful at this time.

“The focus at this time is to establish what has caused these people to become critically ill. We would like to reassure members of the public that this incident is being taken extremely seriously and we currently do not believe there is any risk to the wider public.”

He continued: “We are appealing for anyone with information about the incident to contact police immediately on 999. We would like to hear from anybody who visited the area close to the Maltings shopping centre where these two people were taken ill on Sunday afternoon, and may have seen something that could assist the investigation.

“The two people taken ill were in Salisbury centre from around 13.30hrs. Did you see anything out of the ordinary? It may be that at the time, nothing appeared out of place or untoward but with what you now know, you remember something that might be of significance. Your memory of that afternoon and your movements alone could help us with missing pieces of the investigation. The weather was poor that day so there were not as many people out and about. Every statement we can take is important.”

Temporary Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police Kier Pritchard added: “We continue to work with our partners, including Public Health England, the local NHS trust, local authorities and emergency services. The public will continue to see a high visible policing presence in Salisbury city to help reassure our communities”

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Counter-terror police take over investigation into suspected poisoning of former Russian spy

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