Children and staff have been evacuated from a Hastings primary school after fake reports of a bomb this morning (Wednesday, March 8).
Police received a call claiming a bomb was at Castledown Primary School, prompting an immediate evacuation and search by specialist units.
Nothing was found and the call is being investigated as part of a nationwide hoax of bomb scares at schools.
Superintendent Carwyn Hughes said: “The calls were received by the schools just minutes apart. They show similarities to a number of calls that were received at other schools in the UK.
“The calls remain under investigation as malicious hoaxes.”
Police responded to the call claiming there was a bomb at the Priory Road school, and a school in Bognor Regis, shortly after 9am.
Parents received a message at around 10.20am asking them to pick up their children from the Emmanuel Church on the corner with Vicarage Road.
By 11.30 most children had been collected and parents told the Observer it was ‘scary as you do not expect this to happen at a school’, while another said they were glad their child was safe.
Castledown deputy head teacher Steve Miles said the school will be closed for the rest of the day but will be open as usual tomorrow (Thursday).
“I’m grateful to our staff for the calm and efficient way they handled the situation and to the police for the prompt and professional support they provided,” he said.
“I’d also like to thank parents for their support and I’m sure they understand that we have to take any threat of this nature seriously.”
Bersted Green primary school in Laburnum Grove, Bognor Regis, was the other school the believed pranksters referred to.
Police told West Sussex County Council a number of similar calls have been received by schools across the country and the call showed similarities to ones received at other schools in May, 2016.
“The threats remain under investigation as malicious hoaxes and are not believed to be terrorist-related, but police are dealing with these latest incidents as viable threats until they are satisfied otherwise,” a county council spokesman said.
“The county council is confident that the situation is being dealt with appropriately and precautionary steps have been taken to protect children and staff.
“At this stage no children or staff are believed to be in danger and there is no need to take any further action.
“If schools receive a threat they have been told to call 999 and follow the advice given.”
Other schools targeted at similar times today include Boxgrove Primary School in Guildford, Surrey, and South Hill Primary School in Weymouth, Dorset.
Supt Hughes added: “Any parents concerned about their children should contact the school they attend or the local education authority for further advice and information while the matter is further investigated.
“If any threat is received by a school, please contact police on 999.”
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
1) Make our website your homepage at www.hastingsobserver.co.uk/
2) Like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/hastingsobserver
3) Follow us on Twitter @HastingsObs
4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!
The Hastings Observer - always the first with your local news.
Be part of it.