Man tested for Novichok poisoning in Salisbury after 'falling ill' near Zizzi's restaurant where Skripals ate before nerve agent collapse

Officers in protective gear cordoned off Castle Street – metres from where the Skripals dined before they collapsed from Novichok poisoning in March.

Dramatic scenes saw police, paramedics and the fire service swoop on the area at 6.20pm today after concerns were made about the welfare of a man in his 30s.

He was taken to Salisbury District Hospital where he was tested for signs he had been in contact with a nerve agent, which medics confirmed came back as negative.

A hospital spokesperson said: "As a highly precautionary measure, a male was sent to Salisbury District Hospital this evening for tests to determine if he had any contact with a nerve agent.

"These tests have come back negative, as have all those on members of the public that we've carried out since the incident began.

"Salisbury District Hospital remains open as normal."

Cops also confirmed that there is no concern for either his health or any wider risk to the public.

A Wiltshire Police spokesperson added: "We understand that our initial response to the incident may have looked alarming, but we hope you appreciate why we needed to take this highly precautionary measure.

"We thank you all for your patience and understanding."

As police, paramedics and firefighters suddenly swooped on the city centre tonight, concerned residents took to social media to describe the scene.

One wrote: "Major activity in #Salisbury. Police and search and rescue running into the railway station. Sirens audible for ages. Road shut in city centre, tent being erected here."

Another said: "Looks like the men in green suits are responding to a person outside Tesco’s in the Salisbury city centre next to zizzi’s restaurant a lot of shouting, Screaming at the individual on the floor."

A witness, who asked not to be named, earlier told the BBC the man involved was a "local homeless guy" who was "sat on the floor, completely conscious, talking".

He said he saw a paramedic putting on a chemical suit while another "was shouting at the man to stay put and stay on the floor".

A large yellow sheet was put up outside a disused office block and a Tesco supermarket.

A female police officer was seen carrying a large orange bag, while wearing blue gloves, and a number of emergency service personnel in white protective suits were also at the scene.

Earlier this evening, officers tweeted to say they were taking "highly precautionary measures to ensure public safety… given the ongoing incident in Salisbury and Amesbury."

The Zizzi restaurant where ex-Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia dined before they were found collapsed in a park on March 5 has been closed since the investigation into the nerve agent attack began.

Police believe the pair were exposed to poison after it was left on the front door of his home.

Officers are also invesigating the death of Dawn Sturgess who died on Sunday night – just eight days after she and her partner Charlie Rowley collapsed at an address in Amesbury, Wiltshire.

She was living at homeless hostel John Baker House and is understood to have handled an item – possibly a discarded vial of Novichok – before she fell ill.

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