A COUPLE have been left fighting for their lives after being exposed to the same nerve agent used on Russian spy Sergei Skripal, say police.

Charlie Rowley, 45, and Dawn Sturgess, 44, were found unconscious in a property in Muggleton Road, Amesbury, Wiltshire, on Saturday.

Counter-terrorism police are now leading the investigation after the couple were were poisoned by the nerve agent Novichok, the same used former Russian spy Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

Metropolitan Police said they were not in a position to say whether the nerve agent was from the same batch that the Skripals were exposed to, though “the possibility that these two investigations might be linked is clearly a line of enquiry for us”. 

The couple, who are British Nationals, were discovered unconscious in a home around eight miles from where former Russian and his daughter were poisoned.

Police say the couple remain in a critical condition and are being treated hospital and nobody else has presented with signs of exposure to the nerve agent.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid will chair a meeting of the Government's Cobra emergencies committee on Thursday, Downing Street said.

Assistant Commissioner of Specialist Operations Neil Basu said in a press conference yesterday evening: “We can confirm that the man and woman have been exposed to the nerve agent Novichok, which has been identified as the same nerve agent that contaminated both Yulia and Sergei Skripal.

“The latest update we have from the hospital is that both patients remain in a critical condition. Both are British nationals and are local to the area. Officers are still working to identify their next of kin.

“At this stage, no-one else has presented with the same symptoms linked to this incident.”

He said that now the priority for the investigation team is to establish how the couple came into contact with this nerve agent.

Police confirmed that tests at the Government chemical weapons research laboratory at Porton Down confirmed exposure to the nerve agent.

Around 100 detectives from the Counter Terrorism Policing Network are now working on the investigation, alongside colleagues from Wiltshire Police.

Mr Basu confirmed that a number of sites in the Amesbury and Salisbury remain cordoned off in areas that police believe the two individuals visited in the period before they fell ill. 

He added: “This is a precautionary measure while we continue to investigate how they came into contact with the substance.

“I do want to reassure the public, however, that there is no evidence that either the man or woman recently visited any of the sites that were decontaminated following the attempted murders of Sergei and Yulia Skripal.”

Wiltshire Police initially thought the couple had taken contaminated crack cocaine or heroin, but then decided to carry out further tests and declared it a major incident.

Mr Skripal, 67, and his 33-year-old daughter were left in a critical condition and spent weeks in Salisbury District Hospital, where they underwent treatment for suspected exposure to the Russian-created nerve agent Novichok.

The UK Government has accused Russia of being behind the attack on Mr Skripal, who settled in Britain after a spy swap.