INVESTIGATORS in protective suits today removed the bench where Sergei and Yulia Skripal were found poisoned in Salisbury.

In a statement, the Met Police said: "The park bench that Sergei and Yulia Skripal were sitting on when they were found unwell in Salisbury is being removed [...] in order to preserve it as a potential crime exhibit as part of the investigation into the attempted murders.

"This is one of the largest and most complex investigations undertaken by British counter terrorism policing and we thank the public for their continued support.

Salisbury Journal:

"The investigation is highly like to take many months and, where it is operationally possible, updates will be issued to the media. Locally, updates are being provided to the community of Salisbury by Wiltshire Police.

"Searches are ongoing in the Salisbury area and at this stage it is not possible to put a timescale on how long these may take to conclude.

"Specialist search officers wearing protective equipment continue to carry out a meticulous, systematic search for evidence to support the investigation.

"That search is being carried out based on expert scientific advice to assist detectives in understanding the specific locations that are of most relevance to their lines of enquiry.

"Areas searched to date include large open spaces, commercial and residential properties and vehicles.

"The full range of relevant tests are being carried out and, as reported, this includes support from international partners.

"This is an extremely challenging investigation and police and partners continue to manage a number of unique and difficult issues.

"Around 250 counter terrorism detectives continue to work round the clock, supported by a full range of experts and partners.

"The response from the public has been of huge use to the investigation in terms of witness statements and material provided to the investigation website.

"Officers continue to trawl through 4,000 hours of CCTV and examine nearly 800 exhibits that have been seized. Around 400 witness statements have been taken and many more will follow in the coming days and weeks.

"Despite the complexity of this investigation and the unique challenges, as with all investigations, police have a duty to balance the release of information into the public domain as part of that process with protecting the integrity of our work and planning for any potential legal proceedings.

"Anyone who can assist the investigation is asked to call police on 101."