A woman who sat next to one of two people who fell ill prompting a Novichok scare at a Salisbury restaurant has said that police told her the two victims were Russian.

Amanda Worne, 47, from Yapton, near Arundel, West Sussex, said that "armageddon" broke out as police and the emergency services responded to the incident at the Prezzo restaurant in High Street, Salisbury, Wiltshire, at 6.45pm yesterday.

A major incident was declared yesterday when a man in his 40s and a woman in her 30s became unwell at a Prezzo restaurant in the city.

They were taken to Salisbury District Hospital to be "clinically assessed".

Roads were cordoned off and police and paramedics wearing protective suits were deployed amid heightened tensions following the deadly Novichok attack in the city.

Wiltshire Police said that because of concerns that the pair had been exposed to an unknown substance "a highly precautionary approach" had been taken but later confirmed that Novichok was not involved and the major incident was stood down.

Mrs Worne, who uses a wheelchair after being paralysed in a cycling accident, said that she had gone to the restaurant with a friend after finishing a flying lesson and had asked the woman, who she described as a "beautiful blonde", if she could sit next to her on a sofa in the restaurant.

She said: "She was really over polite, she said 'It would be honour and it would be privilege to have you sit with me on the sofa', and she helped me move the table."

Mrs Worne added: "The girl, she looked slightly dishevelled, there was something about her, she wasn't comfortable, she wasn't relaxed, she had a large glass of wine next to her and my friend and I thought she might have been on an afternoon session."

She added: "She was really peculiar, she was stunning but her skirt was a bit skew-whiff, she was a bit stumbling, she didn't look right."

She continued: "She kept getting up and down and acting a little unusual, she went up to the toilet and came down hysterical 'Oh my God, we need an ambulance, we need an ambulance, someone help we need an ambulance'."

Mrs Worne said the paramedics arrived quickly and after seeing the couple rushed out and returned with protective clothing.

She said: "The paramedic, he was grey, the perspiration, you could see he was so apprehensive, he said 'Just get out'."

Mrs Worne said she called 999 to ask where the police were and they arrived shortly afterwards and she added: "The next thing it was all carnage, it was armageddon, there were sirens, ambulances."

She added: "For us personally it was very, very frightening, we were told by a police officer there were two Russians showing symptoms of the Novichok virus and we would probably have to go to hospital for blood tests."

Mrs Worne added that she was later given the all-clear.

She said that she could not tell the woman's nationality from her accent.

A Wiltshire Police spokeswoman said they would not comment on the nationality of the two people and added: "We do not know if it was a medical episode or anything suspicious, we are waiting to hear from the hospital."

Phil Downton, a member of staff at the nearby New Inn said that the diners were brought to the pub until the all-clear was given at about 1am.

He said: "We weren't allowed to go near them, they were on one side of the pub and we were told not to go in there just in case of contamination if it was something."

The Italian restaurant is a short walk from Queen Elizabeth Gardens, which was until recently closed off after 44-year-old Dawn Sturgess was fatally poisoned by the nerve agent in June.

Also nearby is Zizzi, the Italian restaurant where former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia visited before they were taken ill in March.

Police said Ms Sturgess was killed by the same chemical used in an alleged hit by Russian military intelligence officers on Mr Skripal.