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Salisbury is on lockdown and public are warned not to pick up unknown objects as police hunt Novicho

The British couple fighting for their lives after being exposed to a nerve agent used to attack a former Russian spy and his daughter may have picked up the syringe or needle dumped by assassins in March, it emerged today.

Dawn Sturgess, 44, and Charles Rowley, 45, fell critically ill within hours of visiting Salisbury – the site of the murder attempt on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

Police are desperately searching for the source of a deadly Novichok nerve agent that left the couple fighting for their lives by retracing their steps.

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Mr Rowley is a registered heroin addict and the couple were thought to have stumbled across a discarded container or syringe used to carry the nerve agent in the attempted assassination and been 'accidentally' exposed.

They visited Queen Elizabeth Gardens near where the Skripals were found collapsed in March - but crucially it appears this was not cordoned off and cleaned at the time. Ms Sturgess also lives 300 yards from where they ate on the day they were poisoned four months ago.

Ms Sturgess fell ill at 11am on Saturday and Mr Rowley started 'making weird noises and acting like a zombie' before collapsing later that afternoon, a close friend said.

England's chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies gave a specific warning last night and said: 'I should warn the public to be careful of picking up any unknown or already dangerous objects such as needles and syringes'.

Chemical weapons expert Hamish de Bretton-Gordon told MailOnline that the Novichok could survive for 'months or longer' inside a syringe - and only a 'few molecules' could make someone seriously ill if it entered their mouths, noses or blood.

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He said: 'I think there is an assumption that they may have picked up a syringe. It appears they may have contaminated themselves and were not attacked.

'Only a few molecules of the stuff can make people ill but only of you ingest it. We know that several people brushed against the Skripals but they never became ill'.

Sam Hobson said Charlie Rowley was 'dribbling, rocking and hallucinating' and that police got him to retrace the couple's steps to help find the source of the exposure

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The town is just seven miles from Salisbury, where Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia (pictured together) were poisoned with a nerve agent in March

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Assistant Commissioner of Specialist Operations Neil Basu, pictured right alongside England's chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies, confirmed the substance was Novichok nerve agent

Culled from Daily Mail

My view: Is this attack designed to discredit the U.K. governments narrative regarding Russia's involvement in the assassination attempt on the Skripols, but I don't just get how the Russian government would plan such brutal attack when they're getting brilliant World Cup review as host nation, it's confusing and baffling that they'll want a very bad PR in the

middle of a successful World Cup. I have no clue as to what's really hapening, I trust Prime Minister Theresa May's judgement, she'll do the right thing after investigations.