A group of teenagers were stripped of their clothes and quarantined by the emergency services after they tried on a gas mask they found near Sergei Skripal’s former home.
Wiltshire Police received a call from South Wiltshire University Technical College (UTC) at 1.50pm on Friday, reporting that a number of their students had discovered and then worn the mask.
Four students and three teachers were placed into quarantine, after their clothes and possessions were seized, for around three hours as 999 crews checked for traces of the nerve agent novichok.
One of the teenagers involved, who didn’t want to be named, told Wiltshire 999s that they ‘wore it without thinking about novichok’ and were ‘surprised by the huge emergency response’.
Commenting further, he said: “We had found out we had the all clear when they found out that the gas mask was actually owned by a police member who had left the masks there”. It is understood that the equipment was left in the area by the police years ago and has no link to the recent nerve agent incidents in Salisbury and Amesbury.
After a tense wait, those in quarantine were informed that the gas mask did not carry any trace of anything hazardous and were allowed to leave. Their possessions were returned to them.
The college, which hosts students aged between 14 and 19, is less than 250 metres from Christie Miller Road, where the former Russian spy Sergei Skripal previously resided.
A spokesperson for Wiltshire Police said: “Officers attended the location and, given the ongoing investigations in Salisbury and Amesbury, necessary safety precautions were put in place whilst the discovery was assessed.
“We are now satisfied that as a result of our enquiries, we can confirm this is not connected to these ongoing investigations and the scene has now been cleared.”
A second gas mask was later located nearby following a search by police.
Don't miss out on breaking local 999 news - follow us on Facebook now: