POLICE say there is 'no suggestion' Novichok was the cause of a major incident that saw part of Salisbury city centre cordoned off and left two people in hospital last night. 

Officers attended the incident after receiving a call from the ambulance service at about 6.45pm reporting that two people, a 42-year-old man and a 30-year-old woman, had become unwell at Prezzo restaurant on High Street.

The pair were taken to Salisbury District Hospital.

Police say the cordon at Prezzo is "likely to remain" at this time as a "precautionary measure". 

Detective Sergeant Jonathan Davies-Bateman said: “Understandably, the incident last night has caused a great deal of concern in the local community. I would firstly, like to thank all of the members of public who were either in Prezzo or the immediate vicinity last night for their support and understanding.

“Although we were able to rule out the presence of Novichok quickly, tests are ongoing to understand what, if anything, the pair have come into contact with which may have caused them to fall unwell. It is crucial that this is done methodically. At this stage, it is unclear as to whether or not a crime has been committed."

A statement issued this evening by Wiltshire Police said that "due to recent events in the city and concerns that the pair had been exposed to an unknown substance, a highly precautionary approach was taken" by  emergency services.

Diners in the restaurant were also taken to the former BHS building while they were triaged by medical staff.

The statement added: "Tests are continuing to help us build up the picture of what led to these two people to falling ill but, due to the recent nerve agent incidents in the county, tests were immediately carried out which enabled us to rule out that the pair had been exposed to Novichok."

An earlier statement issued by Wiltshire Police just after 12.30am today, said: "We can now confirm that there is nothing to suggest that Novichok is the substance," they added.

A police cordon was put in place on the high street on Sunday evening, also affecting New Street, Crane Street and the entrance to the Cathedral Close.

It is believed at least one person has "fallen ill" at the scene, with witnesses describing police "covering someone up" with a blanket. 

People inside the Old Ale House pub were told they could not leave, and crews are putting on hazmat suits outside. 

Emergency crews in white suits and face masks were inside Prezzo, and other officers in full hazmat suits were standing by. 

A fire engine, ambulance, four police cars and an incident response unit also attended at the scene. 

The restaurant and surrounding roads were cordoned off "as a precautionary measure", police said, while officers attended the scene to establish the circumstances surrounding led them to fall ill. 

Another witness, Sam Proudfoot said there was "a man in a full white body suit with a mouth mask" at the scene.

It comes after Wiltshire Police issued a warning to drug users in the county as they believed the toxic opioid fentanyl is currently in circulation. 

Salisbury District Hospital is open as usual, a spokesman said, after reports that A&E was closed off to members of the public. 

One of the diners in Prezzo took to social media to say the two taken to hospital were Russian, which is yet to be verified. 

Posting on Facebook, Amanda Newton wrote: "How on earth did we get caught up in this? A nice meal in Prezzo turns into a major incident as two Russians sitting next to us take seriously ill and the whole area is closed. 

"We are being taken to a safe place and may need blood tests at Salisbury hospital."

City council leader Matthew Dean said: "I've been advised that this is the beginning of an incident, and police have put cordons up as a highly precautionary measure.

"At this stage we shouldn't read anything into this incident until the facts become clearer.

"I'm hoping by the morning that the authorities will be able to share information with the public.

"At this time the city council is thinking of the people that have been taken unwell and we'd like to wish them all the best for a speedy recovery. We'd like to thank the emrgency services for all they're doing." 

Tweets from Sam Proudfoot.