LONDON, U.K. - An email warning of a bomb threat caused a scare across 400 schools in Britain, forcing some schools to evacuate, before it was learnt that the email was a hoax.
About 400 schools in London, Yorkshire, Humberside, Northumbria, Suffolk and Essex received the email, which reportedly warned of a 'bomb on the grounds.’
The email said that bomb placed on the school grounds would be detonated if the sender’s demands are not met.
Dozens of schools, including Our Lady Immaculate Catholic Primary school in Tolworth; Cardinal Road School in Feltham, west London; Thurston Community College in Suffolk; Eight schools in Hounslow were amongst those reportedly evacuated as a precaution.
Later, officials stated that the emails were believed to have come from the United States and have been sent across the U.K.
So far, the threats are not being treated as genuine.
A council spokesman said, “Several schools are affected in Hounslow. Initially we thought it was isolated to one school. But there are eight to date in Hounslow that we are aware of. I can’t say if they have all been evacuated. We are monitoring the situation very closely, and working with the police and taking our lead from them. Schools have their own protocol in place and its up to them how they respond.”
Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police tweeted, "Police are investigating reports of communications made to a number of schools across London today, Monday, 19 March. There have been no arrests. Enquiries are ongoing."
By afternoon, North Yorkshire Police branded the threats a "hoax.”
A police spokesman said, "We have had a number of reports this morning about a bomb hoax at many of our schools across the county. This is believed to be a national issue. Our Cybercrime Unit Detectives, supported by local officers, have looked at these incidents and it is not believed there is any genuine threat. We are working with schools to offer reassurance and address any concerns."
Further, a Northumbria Police spokesman too issued a statement saying, "We have received reports from a large number of schools in our region they they have received threatening emails. The emails inform the school that a bomb has been placed on the grounds and will be detonated if they don't hand over cash. Detectives have looked into the emails, which appear to originate from the US, and can confirm there is no viable threat.”
The spokesperson added, "Schools have been visited by police to reassure them that the incident is being treated as a hoax and address any concerns. We take all incidents of this nature extremely seriously and an investigation into the emails in question is underway."