Four schools in the West Midlands have been evacuated after telephone bomb threats received by school staff today between 9 and 9.30am.
West Midlands Police have confirmed the schools affected are Bristnall Hall Academy, Oldbury Academy (pictured) and Holly Lodge in Oldbury in Sandwell and Leasowes High School in Halesowen, in Dudley. A police spokesman said:
“Detectives are investigating after three Sandwell schools received bomb scare calls this morning. A school in Dudley was also affected.
“Some institutions took the independent decision to evacuate students. All are safe and being cared for as usual by staff.
“The calls were received between around 9am and 9.30am.
“A police investigation is now underway to find the person responsible for the calls.”
Sandwell Council attempted to reassure parents, saying:
“Three Sandwell schools were evacuated this morning after receiving bomb scare calls.
“Sandwell Council is working with West Midlands Police. There is no suggestion of any other threat to other schools in Sandwell.
“Parents are being reassured everything is being done to ensure the safety of the children and there is no reason to panic.”
A 14-year-old from Bristnall Hall Academy told the Mirror that pupils were not told what had happened and were just instructed to leave. Describing the situation as “complete madness” with “police everywhere” she said:
“We weren’t told anything, our teachers said it would all be explained tommorow. Several schools closed around us.
“We were evacuated off the premises and around it in less than 10 minutes…
“…I think it’s a hoax call. I’m relieved that the school managed to evacuate us as calmly and quickly as they did but it’s quite petrifying to think that somebody would threaten to attack so many innocent people who just go to school to get an education.”
Darren Cooper, Sandwell Council leader, told the BBC he had been on a train to London when he had heard about the bomb scare calls. He said:
“We got wind of a situation that had been developing first thing this morning. Obviously we were liaising with the police on this as soon as we possibly could.
“We evacuated the schools on the basis of safety. In my opinion it’s always better to act on these things.
“It’s still patchy, the information as to whether there is anything there or not, but we erred on the side of caution.”
All fours schools have now been given the all clear, and West Midlands Police is investigating who made the calls.
Avon and Somerset Constabulary have now revealed it had been made aware of four bomb hoaxes in Bristol schools, leading to evacuations at two. A West Midlands spokesman said:
“Ultimately if there’s some sort of connection that will come out in the investigation.
“If there are any connections, we will look at that, but there’s nothing at this stage.”