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Rod Minchin/PA Wire
UK News

Wiltshire church expresses relief at Novichok all-clear

There were fears Amesbury Baptist Church might have been infected by the deadly nerve agent after it emerged one of the victims had attended a party there last July.

But, following an almost year-long decontamination by military personnel, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs formally handed over control of the twelve sites.

Church Secretary, Roy Collins told Premier the announcement drew "a think line" under months of activity by public health officials and others in the village.

Services resumed on the premises in October after a police cordon (pictured above) was lifted.

Mr Collins said: "Everything seems to be back to normal, the church is back, the businesses are back.

Rod Minchin/PA Wire

"It is reassuring that there's no ongoing investigation. We can have less worries when we go out."

Army Lieutenant General Ty Urch said: "I think our military personnel have demonstrated genuine courage.

"This is something which young girls and boys crossing the hot zone have never done before in their lives and it's been an amazing demonstration of physical and mental courage."


Investigations in Salisbury last year

Charlie Rowley, 45, was mistaken for being drunk when he arrived at the summer barbecue at Amesbury Baptist Church - apparently already suffering the effects of Novichok. He was treated in hospital and later discharged.

His partner, 44-year-old partner Dawn Sturgess, died after coming into contact with a bottle of perfume believed to have been used in the Novichok attack on a former Russian spy and his daughter four months beforehand.

Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were left seriously ill after being targeted with the substance on 4th March in Salisbury.

Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
Police activity in a cul-de-sac in Salisbury near to the home of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal as a nerve agent is believed to have been used to critically injure him and his daughter Yulia

Among the other twelve sites set to be declared decontaminated are Mr Skripal's house and a restaurant where he and Yulia dined before they were discovered unconscious on a park bench.

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