this is bbc news. the headlines at 11:00 — a former russian spy is one of two people critically ill after a suspected poisoning in wiltshire. police investigating the scene have closed a restaurant in the town. sir bradley wiggins tells the bbc he is not a drugs cheat after mps accuse him of crossing an ethical line. and thousands of people in england and wales have faced disruption, this time from rising temperatures as burst pipes drain water supplies. a russian man who spied for britain lies critically ill. we asked a former mi6 officer what they think is going on. good evening and welcome to bbc news.
could this be another example of a russian being poisoned on uk soil? the bbc understands that a man in hospital tonight, sergei skripal, a russian convicted in moscow for spying for britain and now living in the uk, is in a critical condition. he and a young woman were found unconscious on a bench in a shopping centre in salisbury. she is also critically ill. a number of locations in the city centre have been cordoned off and police in full protective gear have been using hoses to decontaminate the street. the hospital where the couple are being treated has declared a major incident. tom symonds has more. whatever happened here is now the subject of a delicate and potentially hazardous investigation. and so officers in respirators were tonight searching bins in the square where sergei skirpal and the 33—year—old woman he was with were found slumped and delirious yesterday afternoon. eyewitnesses said the pair
had been sitting on a bench now covered with a police tent when it became clear something was wrong. there was a couple, an older guy and a younger girl. she was sort of leaning on him, it looked like she had passed out maybe. he was doing some strange hand movements, looking up to the sky. i felt anxious, i felt like i should step in, but they look so out of it and i thought i was not sure how i could help. after they went to hospital, the square was cordoned off. and later, teams in full hazardous material suits were called in to make the area safe. a major incident was under way. both victims are in a critical condition at salisbury district hospital. sergei skirpal is russian. he's 66 years old. he was arrested by russian secret service officers in 2004, accused of handing over state secrets to mi6. in 2006, he was convicted by a military court
in moscow of high treason. but in 2010, he was pardoned by the russian authorities and came to this country in return for the release of ten spies from the us. police who were at mr skripal‘s home in salisbury today said they are keeping an open mind. we have access to a wide range of specialist resources and services that are helping us to understand what we are or are not dealing with at this time. the focus at this moment is trying to establish what has caused these people to become critically ill and we are working with partners to prioritise this diagnosis. they would not discuss the possibility he was targeted because of his past. if so, there are many unanswered questions. why did it happen here, right in the centre of salisbury in such a public area? how was he targeted? the pair were both found with no sign of external injuries, and of course why, and why now?
and tonight, sections of the city centre remain closed off while a few miles away, two people are fighting for their lives in hospital. tom symons, bbc news, salisbury. sir bradley wiggins has told the bbc that he is categorically not a drugs cheat after he was accused of "crossing an ethical line." a report on doping compiled by a committee of mps claims he took an asthma medicine, which is permitted for health reasons, to boost his performance. the findings cast a shadow on the cyclist‘s victory in the tour de france in 2012. in an exclusive interview with our sports editor, dan roan, sir bradley said he had done nothing wrong and that his family was going through a "living hell." he's britain's most decorated 0lympian, but today, sir bradley wiggins was effectively accused of cheating. mps alleging the country's first tour de france winner used asthma drugs to boost performance and notjust for medical need. but today, in his first interview for 18 months, wiggins came out fighting,
telling me he'd done nothing wrong. that you crossed the ethical line — is that fair, did you? no, we didn't. not at any time during my career did we cross the ethical line. as i've said before, i had a medical condition that i went to a doctor. this has been treated since back in 2003 when i was diagnosed with it through the doctors at british cycling at the time. this was the treatment that i'd been prescribed for that particular occasion, which was what, seven years ago now. and under specialist supervision as well, and in place of the rules of that time, which you were allowed to apply for use of this medication. this wasn't a medication that was abused in order to gain an advantage. that's not what your former coach, shane sutton, says. he says your use of that drug was "unethical". yeah, that hurts me, actually.
shane knows around that time exactly what and why i was taking that medication. the revelation wiggins used medical exemptions or tues for a powerful so only one other time did you use triamcinolone other than the three tues we know about? yes. but the report says, they suggest you may have taken it nine times in four years? now this, i don't know where that's come from. i really would like to know. this is an anonymous source, this is an anonymous person that has said this. doesn't mean it's wrong, though. you are saying this is a lie? absolutely, i refute that 100%. this is malicious, this. this is a direct... this is someone trying to smear me. so sitting here now, sir brad,
you can categorically say that you didn't cheat? 100%. you didn't abuse the tue system? never throughout my career, no. i haven't worked and had the passion i've had for this sport for 15, 20 years, to do that to the sport. i mean, it'sjustabsurd. these allegations, it's the worst thing to be accused of, i've said that before. but it's also the hardest thing to prove you haven't done. because we're not dealing in a legal system. i'd have had more rights if i'd murdered someone in this process. i've been gagged for the last 18 months because there was a legal investigation going on, so i couldn't say anything. then they were still waiting on this dcms report. i've never been asked, or these allegations have never been put to me before until now. i've only found out today what i'm actually being you choose to. i mean, the whole jiffy bag thing was just a shambles. the jiffy bag was a mystery medical delivery to wiggins in 2011. a lack of record—keeping and contradictory explanations adding to the suspicion.
wiggins insists he only had a legal decongestant that day. what was in the jiffy bag? god knows. your guess is as good as mine. it doesn't look good, does it? no, of course it doesn't, it's ludicrous. isn't that because it was triamcinolone and you were injected with it that evening? not on me. at the end of the day, the buck stops with me. we travelled six hours later on a training camp at high altitude where the doctor came and i was treated that evening with fluimucil in a nebuliser. the report's criticism has also raised questions over the future of wiggins‘ former boss, sir dave brailsford, who launched team sky promising to be whiter than white. but despite denials of any wrongdoing, he's now embroiled in cycling's grey areas. i think once things are substantiated and if proven, then maybe he should go. but until that is, we can'tjust take this report as that's it, it's set in concrete. so how much of a toll has all this taken on wiggins? i'm trying to be in retirement and do other things in my life and i'm having...
the effect it's had, the widespread effect on the family, it's horrific and i don't know how i'm going to pick the pieces up with the kids and stuff. i'm left to do that, as well as try and salvage my reputation from this. i mean, it'sjust...| wouldn't wish it upon anyone. for the mps‘ report is felt well beyond cycling, poor record—keeping regarding an injection of an illegal substance given to sir mo farah sees uk athletics criticised. the most powerful figure in track and field, lord coe, accused of misleading parliament about when he first knew about corruption allegations — a claim he denies. this, a chastening day for some british sport's biggest reputations. dan roan, bbc news. after the big freeze has come the big thaw, and it's causing problems with thousands of people losing their water supply because of burst pipes. water companies in london, the midlands and south wales are urging people to use as little as possible to conserve supplies. bottled water has been distributed
to people in parts of the capital. but in cumbria, remote households remain cut off by snow and helicopters have been making drops of food and firewood, as danny savage reports. getting to the cut—off communities of the pennines can only be done on foot or quad bike. the ‘farmy army‘ are still doing their bit. the snow was up to the top of the door here, with the window. we had snow all over the front window. just stuck, it was like living in an igloo. gill and her husband have been cut off for a week. so this raf chinook over their home was a welcome sight. it's been doing the rounds in cumbria today, going from isolated hamlets to cut off farms, offering help. they've run out of heating oil here, so a delivery of logs for the burner was very welcome. what is their reaction when you drop in? i think they're quite surprised, but i think