Wiltshire police officer in hospital after possible Novichok exposure

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   MAJOR INCIDENT Anti-terror police have taken over the Amesbury investigation

DS MAJOR INCIDENT Anti-terror police have taken over the Amesbury investigation

The British couple who mysteriously fell ill over the weekend tested positive for Novichok - the same poison that nearly killed a Russian spy and his daughter who lived just a few miles away, police said Sunday.

Sturgess and Rowley were both in treatment after years of substance abuse, an ordeal that compromises the liver's function as the body's detoxifier, making them more physically fragile than the three previous victims: the former spy, Sergei V. Skripal; his daughter, Yulia Skripal; and a British police officer who took sick after responding to the poisoning in Salisbury.

Police have said they believe Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley fell ill with Novichok poisoning after handling a "contaminated item".

'Some sort of glass vessel would have been fine, ' he said, 'with a decent cap to it that would have been safe for someone to carry, but they would also probably have it in some other leak-proof container - because, obviously, what you are trying to avoid at all costs is any sort of contact with it'.

"It is rather scary", a local resident told AFP, as he walked by the canal. "It is something different, it could be on that bench.it makes me anxious".

Russian Federation denies any involvement in the original attack. The British Home Secretary has demanded that Russian Federation explain how a nerve agent that only its government reportedly had access to has shown up a second time on British soil.

"It is completely unacceptable for our people to be either deliberate or accidental targets", Javid told Parliament, adding that it was also unacceptable for British streets or parks to be "dumping grounds for poison".

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

"Russia has categorically denied and continues to categorically deny the possibility of any kind of involvement with what was happening there", Peskov told reporters Thursday.

He added: "The eyes of the world are now only Russian Federation, not least because of the Word Cup".

In a statement, ACSO Neil Basu said: "There is no evidence that either the man or woman recently visited any of the sites that were decontaminated following the attempted murders of Sergei and Yulia Skripal".

Britain and its allies have condemned Russian Federation over poisonings, calling it the first use of chemical weapons on European soil since World War II. Then a local couple with no obvious connection to Russian Federation or to espionage fell desperately ill and the government said Novichok was to blame.

"What they'll be doing is looking into their background to see if there is any reason that they would be linked to the Skripals at all", he explained.

Certain suspect sites have been cordoned off to protect the public.

Britain has said the type of nerve agent used in the Skripal attack was developed by the Soviet Union and could only have been produced by a state agency.

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

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