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West Midlands school bomb threats: The story so far

Sandwell | News | Published:

Hoax bomb threats have caused chaos throughout the West Midlands over the last few weeks, with more than 20 schools affected by 'malicious' false threats. Here's the story so far.

Tuesday January 19

Number of schools targeted: Four

Location of schools: Bristnall Hall Academy, Oldbury Academy (both Oldbury) Holly Lodge (Smethwick) and Leasowes High (Halesowen)

Arrests made: Zero

Four schools were targeted on the first day of bomb threats - three under Sandwell Council's authority and one under Dudley Council.

The calls were received between 9am and 9.30am. The four schools, all secondary schools, evacuated immediately and stayed closed for the day.

Police searched all four sites and found no suspicious packages or items, proving the calls to be a hoax.

The schools all reopened on Wednesday, unaware that the disruption was only just beginning

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Tuesday January 26

Number of schools targeted: Six

Location of schools: Bristnall Hall Academy, Oldbury Academy (both Oldbury) George Salter Academy (West Bromwich), Holly Lodge (Smethwick), The Earls High (Halesowen) and Four Dwellings Academy (Birmingham)

Arrests made: Zero

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One week after the first threats, six schools were threatened in a similar fashion - three of which had been targeted the week before.

All of the schools - four under Sandwell Council, one in Dudley and one in Birmingham - evacuated after receiving calls at around 9am.

However unlike the week before one school, Bristnall Hall Academy, reopened after police quickly confirmed that schools faced no credible threat.

The secondary school academy said 'the learning must continue'.

Four schools in London and four in Cornwall were also evacuated, with a Twitter user claiming responsibility for the nationwide hoaxes.

The handle @Ev4cuati0nSquad tweeted prolifically in the morning before being closed down later in the day. Police would not confirm whether or not the account was being investigated.

Wednesday January 27

Number of schools targeted: One

Location of school: Great Barr School

Arrests made: One

One day after the six schools received threats, Great Barr School and its more than 2,000 students were evacuated after a call at around 8.40am.

However by 10am police had confirmed the school was safe and students and staff returned to the specialist science college.

Police said the hoax was not related to the previous scares and arrested a 14-year-old boy on Thursday after tracing the call to a nearby phone box.

Thursday January 28

Number of schools targeted: 15 (14 in the morning and one in the afternoon)

Location of schools: Oldbury Academy, Bristnall Hall Academy, Perryfields High School (all Oldbury), George Salter Academy, Sandwell City Academy, Sandwell College (all West Bromwich), Ormiston Forge Academy (Cradley Heath), Ace Academy (Tipton), Windsor High School, Colley Lane Primary School (both Halesowen), Shireland Collegiate Academy (Smethwick) Handsworth Grammar School, Harborne Academy, St Paul's Girls School (all Birmingham). Wodensborough Ormiston Academy (Wednesbury) was briefly evacuated in a separate incident.

Arrests made: Zero

Thursday saw hoax calls cause more disruption than ever, with 14 schools targeted at around 8am.

Again the threats focused on schools in the Sandwell area, but also included institutions in Birmingham, Dudley and Halesowen.

Oldbury and Bristnall Hall academies were evacuated for the third time in 10 days, while George Salter Academy was evacuated for the second time in three days.

All three of these schools returned once police had declared their buildings safe.

Handsworth Grammar School did not evacuate and continued lessons as normal, while several of the other schools closed for the day after evacuating staff and students.

Police once again confirmed that there was no credible threat to the schools, but have so far given no indication of being close to arresting the person responsible.

Later in the day, Wodensborough Ormiston Academy in Wednesbury was also evacuated after a prank call that is believed to have been a copycat hoax. Students and staff soon returned to classes.

On Friday a 14-year-old girl was arrested and charged over the threat made to Wodensborough Ormiston. The girl, from West Bromwich, cannot be named for legal reasons.

Monday, February 1

Number of schools targeted: Six

Location of schools: Shireland Collegiate Academy in Smethwick, Bristnall Hall Academy in Oldbury, Oldbury Academy in Oldbury, Perryfields High School in Brandhall, Edgbaston High School for Girls in Edgbaston, Hall Green Secondary School in Hall Green.

Arrests made: Zero

As the hoax bomb threats to schools in the West Midlands continued into their third week, six schools were targeted, four of which had received threats previously and two which had not.

Again the calls were believed to be false and malicious, and West Midlands Police continue to investigate in a bid to catch those responsible.

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