Diners warned to wash clothes after poisoned spy incident

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Shut up: the Mill pub in Salisbury has been closed as part of police investigations (image credit: Chris Talbot)
Shut up: the Mill pub in Salisbury has been closed as part of police investigations (image credit: Chris Talbot)
Customers of a pub and a restaurant that were closed as part of investigations into the poisoning for a former Russian spy and his daughter have been advised to wash their possessions after nerve agents traces were discovered.

Public Health England (PHE) issued precautionary advice to diners who visited the Mill pub and Zizzi restaurant, both in Salisbury, Wiltshire, during specific times on Sunday 4 and Monday 5 March

Both the pub and restaurant were closed as part of ongoing police investigations into the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia with a nerve agent.

The Mill, part of brewer and pubco Greene King’s estate, was sealed off by police shortly after the victims were found unconscious on a bench in The Maltings shopping centre nearby. Zizzi restaurant was also sealed off by police.

The investigation is currently being conducted by counter terrorism police, but they were unable to say how long the pub or nearby sites would be closed for.

Precautionary advice

A spokesperson for the Mill said: “We are supporting the police with their investigations. The pub is currently closed. We apologise to our customers for any inconvenience caused.”

The precautionary advice was for those who visited the Mill pub in Salisbury between 1.30pm on Sunday 4 March and closing time at 11.10pm on Monday 5 March or the nearby Zizzi restaurant between 1.30pm on 4 March and the time it closed at 9pm on Monday 5 March.

Based on current evidence, the risk to the general public from the substance has not changed and remains low.

PHE said while there was no immediate risk to anyone who may have been in the pub or restaurant, it is possible, but unlikely, that any of the substance, which had come into contact with diners’ clothing or belongings could still be present in minute amounts and, therefore, contaminate their skin.

It added that over time, repeated skin contact with contaminated items may pose a small risk to health, but the risk can be removed by taking actions it has outlined below.

Washing clothing

The advice included that diners should wash the clothing they were wearing in an ordinary washing machine using their regular detergent at the temperature recommended for the clothing.

It also said any items that cannot be washed, and which would normally be dry cleaned, should be put in two plastic bags tied at the top and stored safely in their own home as PHE is currently reviewing the best way of cleaning these clothes and will provide further advice on its website.

It urged the diners to wipe personal items such as phones, handbags and other electronic items with cleansing or baby wipes and dispose of the wipes in an ordinary, domestic waste disposal bin.

Other items such as jewellery and spectacles, which cannot go in the washing machine or be cleaned with cleansing or baby wipes, should be hand-washed with warm water and detergent before being rinsed with clean cold water.

PHE also said diners do not need to seek advice from a health professional unless they are experiencing symptoms.

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