Bench at centre of Salisbury investigation being removed for preservation

Sergei and Yulia Skripal were found unconscious on the bench on Sunday March 4th

Bench at centre of Salisbury investigation being removed for preservation

The tent covering the bench in the Maltings shopping centre in Salisbury is blown over by the wind. Picture by: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire/PA Images

The park bench where Sergei and Yulia Skripal were found unconscious following the Salisbury nerve agent attack is being removed, police have said.

It's almost three weeks since the former Russian spy and his daughter were discovered in a critical condition, after being they were targeted in what police have said was a case of 'attempted murder'.

Major investigations into the attack are under way, with investigators for the international chemical weapons watchdog OPCW having arrived in England earlier this week to gather samples.

Meanwhile, experts today removed the bench at the centre of the case - with police saying it will be perserved as a "potential crime exhibit as part of the investigation into the attempted murders."

Responsibility claims

The British government has accused Russia of being responsible for the attack - either by directly ordering the attack, or through having 'lost control' of Soviet Union developed nerve agents known as novichok.

Officials in Moscow have denied any responsibility.

The British claims have provoked a war of words between the UK and Russia, with each country having also expelled 23 of the other country's diplomats.

The EU has recalled its ambassador to Moscow for what it describes as "consultations" following the nerve agent attack, after member states agreed they view it as "highly likely" that Russia is responsible.

Police officer released from hospital

Yesterday, a police officer who was left in a serious condition after responding to the Salisbury incident was released from hospital.

In a statement, Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey said: "I want people to focus on the investigation - not the police officer who was unfortunate enough to be caught up in it.

"I understand why there is attention on me, but all I have done is represent every police officer who goes out there every day and puts their life at risk."

Both Sergei and Yulia Skripal remain in a critical but stable condition in hospital.

Officials have said the investigation into the incident is likely to take 'many months'.