THE suspicious white powder that sparked a chemical scare and almost ruined a Hampshire couple's big day is believed to be from a fire extinguisher.

Police have recovered an empty extinguisher from close to a wedding marquee which was the centre of a major decontamination operation on Saturday.

Initial test results also point to the powder, which covered everything inside the tent in the ruins of Bishop's Waltham Palace, as coming from a fire extinguisher.

It almost led to the cancellation of Richard Clark and Alison Nealis's big day when the groom and guests were ordered into quarantine after coming into contact with the substance.

Mr Clark said after tying the knot: "Of all the things that you think would go wrong with a wedding day, you don't think of chemical war."

After two people complained of itching and a strange taste of lime in their mouths, all 12 people in the tent were decontaminated and rushed to hospital.

The wedding went ahead four hours later than planned with guests in green plastic decontamination suits.

The wedding party eventually sat down to a supper of fish and chips.

On Sunday police questioned a second 17-year-old in relation to the incident and released him on bail. It came after another 17-year-old was arrested on Saturday before being questioned and released. Both teenagers are from Bishop's Waltham.

Officers investigating the incident, which involved more than 70 police, ambulance and fire personnel, say that more arrests may follow.

PC Martin Gibson, from Bishop's Waltham police, said: "We believe our investigation is two-thirds of the way there.

"It could take some time to complete our inquiries, however, if we have to take statements from all of the guests at the wedding. It was a very serious incident and some of the guests did have a reaction to the powder, although we now realise it is fairly innocuous."

The marquee is today due to be taken down. Brown patches of grass are clearly visible where the powder has killed the green shoots.

IT worker Richard, 41, and social worker Alison, 36, are now four days into a three-week honeymoon in California.

Bosses at English Heritage - which looks after the ruins - hope that the incident will not hit their lucrative business of hiring it out for functions.