TWO people are being treated in hospital tonight (Sunday) after they collapsed in the centre of Salisbury.

Police and paramedics were called at 4.15pm after a man in his 60s and a woman in her 30s were found unconscious on a bench in The Maltings shopping centre.

The woman, who was unconscious at the scene, was airlifted to Salisbury District Hospital at about 5.15pm.

The man, a former Russian spy, was transported to SDH by road and is understood to be conscious.

Salisbury Journal:

Emergency services suspect the powerful drug fentanyl - a synthetic opiate 50-100 times stronger than heroin - may have been involved.

Officers taped off an area around a bench where one of the pair had been sick.

Firefighters in specialist suits then decontaminated the area.

The material they removed from the scene was wrapped in several protective layers and will now be burned, along with the suits.

Police said it would be the first reported incident involving the drug fentanyl in Salisbury, but that other incidents had been reported in Wiltshire.

Salisbury Journal:

What is fentanyl? 

Drugs advice website says: "Fentanyls are a family of synthetic opioids – they range in potency but some are incredibly strong and can be effective at very small doses, making it easier to take too much, to overdose and die."

A police spokesman said in a statement: "We received a call at approximately 4.15pm today to a report of a concern for the welfare of a man and a woman in The Maltings, Salisbury.

Salisbury Journal:

"Colleagues from the ambulance service are in attendance and the air ambulance has landed at the scene.

"The area has been cordoned off to allow officers to carry out inquiries at this time.

"Anyone with information should call police on 101."