Thousands of pupils have been evacuated from at least 14 schools in London, the West Midlands and Cornwall after a series of bomb scares sparked panic across the country. Four schools in the capital, including ones in the borough of Merton, were evacuated on 26 January, while the same occurred for six in Sandwell, Dudley and Birmingham in the Black Country.
School buildings in Truro, St Ives and Penzance, Devon were also evacuated, Cornwall Police said. No explosives have been found at any of the sites, leading police to brand the scares as hoaxes. It is not yet clear if the calls were made by one person or if there were multiple suspects involved.
A Metropolitan Police spokeswoman said: "The schools have been evacuated as a precaution while the incidents are looked into. At this stage, the incidents are being treated as malicious communications."
Calls regarding suspicious devices are believed to have been made at Ricards Lodge High School, a school for girls in Wimbledon, and Raynes Park High School, a mixed establishment that educates 2,500 students and is also based the south London borough of Merton.
Raynes Park reported its students reacted efficiently to the scare. "Thank you so much to all RPHS students for following procedure and for your impeccable behaviour this morning," it tweeted.
Oldbury Academy and Bristnall Hall Academy in Sandwell were also evacuated as a precaution after a threat "compromised the safety of students and staff". Both schools sent students home following the threats and the latter said the closure was because of "unforeseen circumstances". West Midlands Police said it received calls made to six schools – four schools in Sandwell, one in Dudley and one in south Birmingham – none of which are considered credible.
Devon and Cornwall Police were not available for comment.