Detectives investigating the circumstances around a man and a woman taken seriously ill in Salisbury are appealing for witnesses and anyone with information to come forward.
At approximately 16:15hrs on Sunday, 4 March, a man in his 60s and a woman in her 30s were found unconscious on a bench near The Maltings shopping centre, Salisbury.
They are currently being treated at hospital for suspected exposure to an unknown substance. Both remain in a critical condition in intensive care. We are not releasing details of the man and woman who are critically ill.
Wiltshire police, along with colleagues from the ambulance and fire services, attended the scene and cordons were established which remain in place.
On Tuesday, 6 March, it was confirmed that the Counter Terrorism Policing network had taken over the lead for the investigation, due to the unusual circumstances and the specialist expertise the network can bring to the investigation.
It has not been declared a terrorist incident and we continue to keep an open mind as to what happened.
Cordons are now in place at a further scene near Solstice Park in Amesbury. This is linked to the investigation and is a precautionary measure.
Officers have carried out CCTV enquiries and spoken to a number of people as part of the inquiry, and they are now appealing to anybody who visited Salisbury town centre and surrounding areas on Sunday afternoon and has not yet spoken to police to get in touch. They are keen to speak to anyone who visited Zizzi restaurant on Castle Street and The Bishop’s Mill pub in The Maltings.
Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, the head of Counter Terrorism Policing, 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 added: "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 said: "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"
Any members of the public who may have images or footage that could assist the investigation should send them to this address http://www.ukpoliceimageappeal.co.uk.
Counter Terrorism Policing is an alliance of UK police forces. Whilst the core mission involves working closely with security and intelligence agencies to prevent, deter and investigate terrorist activity the skills and specialist capabilities of CTP are utilised in a range of other specialist investigative areas. These include war crimes, Official Secret Act offences, the policing response to counter-espionage and counter-proliferation, some threats to VIPs, and other cases where the specialist skills are best placed to investigate allegations.