Amesbury (UK), July 5: A couple in UK’s Amnesbury was left critically ill after being exposed to Novichok- a nerve agent which was used in poisoning a former Russian spy and his daughter. The British couple fell ill last Saturday, June 30 in southwestern England, nearby where former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia collapsed on a bench on March 4. The incident sparked a bitter diplomatic crisis with Russia. Also Read - Convicted Russian Agent Back in Moscow After Deportation From US

The counter-terrorism police who are currently leading the investigation into the incident, said that the substance bore resemblance to Soviet-made military grade nerve agent after tests at the Porton Down defence laboratory. Also Read - 'Unknown substance' hospitalises two in Salisbury: British police

“It’s the same nerve agent. Whether we can ever tell if it’s the same batch will be up to scientists to determine,” Neil Basu, head of counter-terrorism police, told reporters. Also Read - Poisoned Russian ex-spy Skripal discharged from UK hospital (Eds: Updating with additional inputs) By Aditi Khanna

“The priority for the investigation team now, is to establish how these two people have come into contact with this nerve agent,” he said. Basu said there was no evidence to suggest that the man and the woman, named locally as Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess, “were targeted in any way”.

“The possibility that these two investigations might be linked is clearly a line of enquiry for us,” Basu said.

With inputs from PTI.