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article imageDismantling of Skripal home in Salisbury gets under way

By AFP     Jan 8, 2019 in World

The home of Russian double agent Sergei Skripal, who was poisoned with a nerve agent in Britain last March, began to be partially dismantled on Monday as part of its decontamination.

The latest work on the property in the English city of Salisbury is expected to take up to four months, according to a local authority letter sent to neighbouring residents seen by Britain's Press Association.

Contractors will first build a "sealed frame" around the house -- which sits on a quiet cul-de-sac -- before military teams dismantle the roof, the letter stated.

All materials will be "wrapped and sealed on site before being removed safely," with contractors then set to build a new roof over the property.

Alistair Cunningham, chair of the South Wiltshire Recovery Coordinating Group, said in a statement that the clean-up was "a thorough and complicated process".

"While there is still work to be undertaken, the end is in sight," he added.

Ex-spy Skripal and his adult daughter were discovered unconscious on a Salisbury park bench on March 4 after they had been poisoned by a highly toxic nerve agent, Novichok in an attack the British government says was "almost certainly" approved by the Russian state.

Investigators said it had been sprayed on the door handle of the home.

The pair survived but in June a British woman, Dawn Sturgess, died after coming into contact with Novichok, while her partner also fell ill.

London has blamed the poisoning on Russia's GRU military intelligence service, but Moscow has denied any involvement.

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