Hoax threat to schools causes disruption and chaos
Schools across the North East were caught up in distruption today due to a hoax email.
Hundreds of schools, both nationally and in the region, were effected by the drama with some having to cancel planned events.
Howletch Lane Primary School in Peterlee was one of those which were forced to cancel a celebration event this afternoon to mark the school's 50th birthday.
Other schools are reported to have had to cancel a number of Easter activities.
And, dozens of worried parents decided to pick up their children early from school, with a number of East Durham schools allowing the youngsters to leave with carers.
Schools in Durham were among those targeted by the threatening email warning children would be mowed down by a car.
The email said that a car would drive into "as many students as possible" as they left school at 3.15pm.
It added: “If you try and evacuate them the driver will get out and shoot any student leaving.
"You have a choice here, you can ignore this email and risk the lives of the students you say you care for, or you can listen to what we are telling you.
"The only way out is to go out with a BANG.”
Blackhall Primary School posted on its Facebook page: "Every school in County Durham has received a hoax email, as a precaution we have locked all of the school gates for the children's protection.
"The children are safe, however, if you are concerned you are welcome to pick up the children from the main entrance gate opposite the school office and we will bring your child out to you."
Seaham High School, said: "Seaham High School will be open as normal tomorrow.
"Following advice from the local authority and police, we are confident that there is no credible threat following today's hoax email campaign which targeted schools across the country.
"While our paramount concern is the students' safety, we see no reason school should be disrupted. We appreciate parents/carers support during this time."
Chief Inspector Catherine Clarke, from Durham Constabulary, said: “We can confirm that at this time we believe none of the threats received by schools to date are considered to be credible.
“In the absence of any further threats being received, schools do not need to take any further action.
“If any further threats are received they should be reported immediately to police.
“We are in contact with the schools in our area to give guidance and reassurance.
“More than 100 schools in the North-East region have received the emails and we are working with neighbouring forces to establish the facts and investigate who is responsible.
“Anyone with any information that could assist police should contact Durham Constabulary on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”