Decontamination work finishes in Salisbury

1 March 2019, 13:25 | Updated: 1 March 2019, 13:28

Salisbury Poisoning

DEFRA has confirmed the final site of decontamination in Salisbury is safe and has been handed to the South Wiltshire Recovery Coordinating Group.

It comes almost a year since the nerve agent poisonings began.

Deputy Chief Constable Paul Mills, who was also the chair of the South Wiltshire response strategic coordination group said: ''Today marks an important milestone further to the terrible events of the last 12 months.

''The thoughts of Wiltshire Police, and the Police and Crime Commissioner, continue to be with everyone who was affected by what happened in Salisbury and Amesbury, Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, Charlie Rowley, and of course the friends and family of Dawn Sturgess who tragically lost her life.

''To say this has been an unprecedented year for policing in the county would be an understatement. Our priority throughout has been to keep people safe, and we have worked closely with up to 26 partner organisations over the last 12 months to do that.

''The policing operation locally has been unprecedented in its size. Over 15,000 individual police duties have been worked, across 20 cordons across the two areas alone. We have seen over 1, 200 police officers from 40 different police forces provide support to the local policing response and assistance to recovery.

''I would like to say thank you to the public of Salisbury and Amesbury, both residents and visitors, who have been incredible. They have provided huge support to the police investigation over the last year, notwithstanding the continued disruption to everyday life that the cordons have caused

''The generosity of spirit shown to our officers on the cordons in all weathers and during all hours has been humbling. Thank you, on behalf of everyone who works for Wiltshire Police, and on behalf of all of the officers and staff who supported from other forces.

''Whilst today marks an important landmark in relation to the decontamination process it does not however mark the end to the police investigation.

''Our colleagues at the CT network continue to make progress and relentlessly pursue the investigation into the tragic events that we saw unfold in our county.''

Counter Terrorism Policing Senior National Coordinator, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dean Haydon said: ''Our thoughts remain with Dawn Sturgess's family, the other victims who fell seriously ill and the people of Salisbury who have shown tremendous resilience throughout. We are determined to bring to justice those responsible for Dawn’s death and the attacks on Yulia and Sergei Skripal and Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey.

''A year on from the attack on the Skripals and Det Sgt Bailey in Salisbury, there are parts of the picture that we are continuing to piece together, and I am urging anyone who has information that they have not yet passed to police to do so.

''I am conscious someone may have information but is worried about telling us a year on. Please do not worry, just call or email us. The information you have could be crucial to securing the prosecution of those responsible for Dawn Sturgess' death and the attacks on the Skripals and Det Sgt Bailey.

''In particular, we are keen to hear from anyone who may have seen the counterfeit 'Nina Ricci' perfume box or bottle that was recovered from Charlie Rowley's address in July.

''We cannot account for the whereabouts of the bottle, nozzle or box between the attack on the Skripals and Det Sgt Bailey on 4 March and when Charlie Rowley said he found it on Wednesday, 27 June.

''Did you see this pink box or glass bottle during that time? Do you have any information about where it might have been discarded?

''If so, please call police in confidence on 0800 789 321 or email

''Any extra information from the public will be extremely welcome and may assist this highly complex investigation.

''Around 250 detectives from across the Counter Terrorism Policing Network have worked on the investigation into the attack on the Skripals and poisoning of Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley. They have collected over 11,000 hours of CCTV footage; seized 3,700 exhibits and taken 1,702 statements in relation to the two incidents and continue to pursue a number of lines of enquiry.''