Police have arrested a man following an investigation into an online threat to commit a mass shooting at a school in Blackpool. Lancashire Police have arrested a 54-year-old man on suspicion of public nuisance and malicious communication offences following threats directed at Montgomery High School in Bispham.
More than 1,000 pupils were kept absent from the first day of term by worried parents over fears the comments posted on social media were genuine, leaving only 263 pupils to start the new term as planned. Police were also deployed to the school as a precaution and to provide reassurance.
The user, who used a boy's Facebook profile and claimed to be a student at the school, said he would be inspired by Columbine massacre gunmen Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, who murdered 12 students and one teacher in the 1999 school shooting.
In one post, the suspect wrote: "Nobody talks to me or notices me except when they're calling me a nerd and pushing me around. As soon as I tell people I've got a gun, I start getting bombarded with messages. You're all f****d and you deserve what's coming to you."
In response to a challenge from one student at the school, the user added: "You think it's a joke? You'll see bullets, bodies, and blood."
Police have confirmed a 54-year-old man has now been arrested. A spokesperson added: "Officers were made aware by concerned members of the public about a number of Facebook and Reddit social media posts between 30 and 31 December and related to Montgomery High School in Bispham.
"The messages, created by an anonymous user, threatened to harm pupils when the school term started. The school opened as planned on Monday 4 January, with officers in attendance at the site, providing a visible presence to reassure parents, pupils and staff. There was no incident and no one was harmed."