A Russian TV reporter walked into the hospital where former double agent Sergei Skripal is being treated for poisoning by a nerve agent. He then roamed corridors before being asked to leave by security.
The crew, from one of Russia’s most prominent networks, REN TV, entered Salisbury District Hospital in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
There, they filmed the presenter walking around corridors, approaching staff and casting doubt upon the handling of the case.
After a few minutes, they were ejected. Once outside the building, police reportedly asked them to delete the footage they had obtained.
However, a “technical copy” of the video remained and was aired on Russian television. In the footage the reporter can be seen outside the microbiology department. He remarked that that door seems “locked securely”.
“This is most likely the door behind which Sergei Skripal is located,” he told the camera.
“And here’s a sign,” he added, pointing at the door. “No entry – keep your distance. It’s the only protection from the lethal substance England is saying is novichok.”
The camera then zoomed in on the sign which read: “Caution. Slippery floor surface.”
While roaming the corridors he scrutinised the clothes of the workers, telling the camera that hospital staff seem “not afraid to wear ordinary clothing”.
He added that there were “strange inconsistencies are everywhere”.
He then asked some nurses about the treatment of Mr Skripal.
“I am sorry, we don’t know anything, we just take care of babies in this hospital,” they replied.
The video included a bizarre segment in which the reporter dwells on the hospital environment.
“Lots of coffee machines and paintings on the walls, but nevertheless, there are a lot of closed doors,” he said.
A spokesperson for Salisbury District Hospital said the stunt was “appalling”, and that the crew “approached staff in the middle of the night with no warning and without asking for any permission”.
“Our staff, who have been rightly lauded for their recent efforts, working tirelessly to give all of our patients high quality care, deserved better,” they said. “We would like to reiterate that any attempt to harass, intimidate or cause distress to any of our staff or patients is absolutely unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”
Wiltshire police confirmed they had responded to calls by the hospital’s security guards and said the men “were asked to leave the hospital and did so,” a spokesperson said.
“No arrests were made.”