Police following ‘number of lines of inquiry’ over Salisbury poisoning
A number of leads have come after tip-offs from members of the public, a senior counter-terrorism officer said.
Investigators are still following “a number of lines of inquiry” over the nerve agent poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, police have said.
Counter-terrorism police chief Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dean Haydon said that a number of leads had come from members of the public, as he thanked the people of Salisbury for their patience during the “extremely challenging investigation”.
On Monday it was disclosed that Wiltshire Police’s response to the extraordinary attack will cost £7.5 million, and the area’s police and crime commissioner Angus Macpherson has asked the Home Office to cover the bill.
Mr Haydon said: “Clearly this is a very unusual case – both in its scale and complexity.
“We have said from the start that this investigation was going to take some time as we rigorously follow the evidence.
“We continue to deal with a number of unique and complex issues in what is an extremely challenging investigation.
“Some of our leads have come from members of the public and I would like to thank the people of Salisbury for their help, support and patience.
“The city continues to recover from the incident.
“With such a sensitive and complex investigation, I am sure the public will appreciate that there are still a number of lines of inquiry being progressed that we cannot discuss at this stage.
“What I am able to say is that the team working on the investigation remain completely committed to finding out what happened and continue to follow every possible lead.
“Our inquiries are focused around the people and vehicles that were in the vicinity of the Skripals’ address and leading up to where they fell ill in The Maltings.
“We would ask anyone who may have information, or who may have seen or heard something – however small – to contact police on 101.”
Mr Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were found unconscious from the effects of the military nerve agent Novichok on a bench in the cathedral city on March 4.
They were admitted to Salisbury District Hospital along with Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey. All three have since been discharged, but Mr Bailey remains off work.
On Tuesday Mr Haydon gave the latest facts and figures linked to the massive inquiry, which has seen 1,230 officers brought in from across the country to help with the response.
– 250 detectives have been working on the case over the past three months, and about 100 counter-terrorism officers remain in Salisbury.
– To date, 176 searches have been carried out in the city, and more than 900 witness statements taken.
– 4,000 hours of CCTV have been sifted through by police staff from the national counter-terrorism network along with others seconded from five forces.
– About 14,000 vehicles and 2,500 pedestrians who travelled through the area at the time have been “assessed and graded according to their significance” by investigators.
– More than 2,300 exhibits have been recovered, 851 of which are being stored at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory because of “contamination issues”. Detectives have carried out 190 examinations at Porton Down.
– Officers have carried out 379 house-to-house inquiries, and dropped leaflets at hundreds more.