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In England 'What's going on?': English town once again mired in mystery

With police tape and masked investigators once again visible on the streets of Salisbury, residents of the quaint English town are asking the same question: "What is going on?"

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Police guards and crime scene tape have returned to Salisbury, where former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a nerve agent earlier this year. play

Police guards and crime scene tape have returned to Salisbury, where former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a nerve agent earlier this year.

(AFP)

With police tape and masked investigators once again visible on the streets of Salisbury, residents of the quaint English town are asking the same question: "What is going on?"

With life just returning to normal after the poisoning of a former Russian agent in the city in March, locals were once again on edge as news broke that two more people were critically ill in hospital after being exposed to an "unknown substance".

"I just want to know what is going on," said one woman, who wished to remain anonymous.

"We are a little bit worried," added a neighbour of the couple, who were rushed to hospital on Saturday.

"If it is something bad, we may have passed them (the victims) in the street," she said, adding that people were worried about possible risks of contamination.

Paramedics found the victims, named by a friend as Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess, in a house on Muggleton Road in Amesbury, about 15 kilometres (nine miles) from Salisbury city centre.

Police initially put the incident down to the ingestion of heroin or crack cocaine, but added that additional tests were trying to "establish the substance which led to these patients becoming ill."

The incident rekindled memories of when the city became the epicentre of international tensions, after former spy Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were found slumped on city-centre bench on March 4, having been poisoned with a nerve agent.

'So strange'

"It is bad, isn't it?" said Regina Lawes.

The Amesbury Baptist Centre where the victims were reportedly partying on Saturday play

The Amesbury Baptist Centre where the victims were reportedly partying on Saturday

(AFP)

"My friends wonder what is happening. Some people get scared," said the 60-year-old, who was walking her dog near a Baptist church in Amesbury where the victims reportedly went to a party on Saturday, and which is now closed and cordoned off by police tape.

"I don't know what to think," said John Smith, 84.

"We were just trying to get back to normal. It is not very good for tourism."

As with the Skripal incident, several places visited by the victims were closed off as precautionary measures, including a Boots pharmacy.

Sam Hobson, friend of the Amesbury victims, said he was with Charlie Rowley when he started feeling ill play

Sam Hobson, friend of the Amesbury victims, said he was with Charlie Rowley when he started feeling ill

(AFP)

Sam Hobson, 29, who claimed he was a friend of the victims, said that the couple had spent Friday in Salisbury.

Hobson said he was with Rowley when he started feeling ill, hours after Sturgess collapsed.

Rowley "was sweating loads, dribbling, and you couldn't speak to him," added Hobson.

"He was making funny noises. It's like he was in another world, hallucinating."

Chloe Edwards, who lives across the street from the victims' house, said she saw paramedics, some wearing "green suits" and "masks", arriving on Saturday.

"Everything happened very, very quickly," she said.

However, it was only on Wednesday that the neighbours learned that a "major incident" had occurred.

"If it is similar (to what happened in Salisbury) why would they let it so long?," asked another neighbour.

"It is so strange," said Natalie Smyth, 27. "It is such a quiet place."

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