Amesbury incident: Novichok could be active for 50 years

Neil Basu and Kier Pritchard (Amesbury Incident July 2018)

Published by The Spire FM News Team at 10:38pm 10th July 2018. (Updated at 5:04am 11th July 2018)

Met Police investigating Amesbury incident warn nerve agent may be in multiple containers

"It would be impossible to keeping going forever. Quite simply, we'd have to close down large parts of the country - not just Salisbury."

That's the line from the Metropolitan Police's head of counter-terror Neil Basu, as he was asked by an Amesbury resident what the police would do if they couldn't find the container with the nerve agent Novichok in.

He was also asked if the Novichok could be in a landfill site.

"If it is sealed in a container and it was in a landfill site it would effectively be safe because it would not be touched by anyone and it would last, probably, I've been told by scientists, 50 years."

Neil Basu, along with representatives from Wiltshire Police, Wiltshire Council, Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue, Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, South Western Ambulance Service as well as MP John Glen, took questions from Amesbury locals at a meeting in the Antrobus House,

Over 200 people attended from the local community.

Crowd at Antrobus House meeting regarding Amesbury Incident

Questions were asked about the ongoing investigation into the recent poisonings of Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley, which has now led into a murder enquiry following the death of Durrington mum Dawn on Sunday (8th July).

Police cannot yet say that the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal on March 4th and the most recent incident are definitely linked.

However, Mr Basu he added:

"This is a very rare substance banned by the international community and for there to be two separate, distinct incidents in one small English county is implausible to say the least.

"The brutal fact is we don't know where they found it.

"I am hoping Charlie recovers and when he recovers he will be able to tell us and perhaps shed some light on it which will narrow our search dramatically.

"There is a possibility they found it on 5 March and only opened it in the past 10 days."

"I would love to be able to stand and say to you that we've identified and caught the people responsible, how we're certain there are no traces of nerve agent left anywhere in your county, but the brutal reality is I cannot offer you any such assurance or guarantee at this time."

Speaking in regards to how long it would take before the affects of the nerve agent would come into effect on a person, Public Health England Medical Director Paul Cosford said:

"If you become ill with this stuff (Novichok) from actually coming into contact with a significant amount of it then its within 6-12 hours, maximum (that symptoms would occur) - 3 hours is the minimum but you have to be in touch with a large dose."

Public Health England have issued advice regarding the incident which you can read here.

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