Novichok poisoning house to be sold after 13,000 hours of heavy duty cleaning

The infamous home of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal has been bought by Wiltshire council three years after the Novichok assassination attempt against him and his daughter.

The council on Monday revealed it will "rebuild and refurbish" the infamous four-bedroom detached house in Salisbury to offer its shared ownership property to local residents.

A spokesman added it will ensure nobody will be allowed "to trade on its history" following 13,000 of heavy duty cleaning to sanitise the area of Novichok, the Mail Online reports.

The property, which boasts a new bathroom suite, two reception rooms and a 22ft lounge, has been lying empty since the poisoning attempt.

It was bought for £260,000 on August 12, 2011, before the Novichok attack, according to the Land Registry.

A council spokesman said: "Wiltshire Council has agreed to purchase 47 Christie Miller Road, Salisbury to enable the property to be brought back into use.

"Once refurbished it will then be offered as a shared ownership property to local residents in line with the council's affordable housing policies with a legal stipulation that it must be used as a residential property that it may not be sub let and that nobody can trade on its history."

Ex-double agent Skripal, 69, was left in a critical condition when his Salisbury home was contaminated with the nerve agent on March 4 2018.

He and his daughter, then 33, were poisoned in a suspected attack by Russian spies.

But a year and a half later the house in Wiltshire was decontaminated and refurbished ready for it to be put up for sale.

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It is believed Mr Skripal, who was moved to a secret hideout following the attacks, has been advised not to return for security reasons.

Reports say it took a total of 13,000 hours to sanitise the 13 sites around Salisbury contaminated by the nerve agent. The house was the last to be pronounced decontaminated.

The home was finally declared safe enough for him to sell in September 2019 – 18 months after Novichok was smeared across the letterbox.

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Officials were said to have made effort to ensure the site doesn't become a "dark tourism" hot spot or turn into a museum.

The house had been officially decontaminated in March 2019, but extensive work has been carried out to restore the property to its former state.

A footpath feared poisoned by the Novichok attack has also been re-opened. Police believed the alleged hit men had used the footpath and may have left traces of the deadly nerve agent on it.

Three months after the Skripals were targeted, Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley fell ill seven miles away from Salisbury in Amesbury.

Ms Sturgess later died after spraying a perfume bottle contaminated with the same nerve agent on her wrist, given to her by Mr Rowley.

Wiltshire Police Sergeant Nick Bailey was also taken to hospital after coming into contact with the deadly substance, but was later discharged.

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