TWO HAMPSHIRE colleges have been targeted in separate bomb scares today.
Students due to take A level exams faced nervous delays as they were evacuated while police rushed to Brockenhurst College and carried out an urgent search of the site.
Meanwhile, a search was also carried out at Eastleigh College after a similar email was received, claiming an explosive device had been planted on the campus.
Police believe both threats were part of a linked series of “malicious communications” aimed at education establishments around the country.
In a separate incident outside Brockenhurst College today, a female student reportedly on her way to sit an exam was hit by an ambulance on a 999 call. She was treated at the scene before being taken to Southampton General Hospital, although her injuries are not thought to be serious.
The alarm was raised after the emails were received at around 9am.
After a search of Brockenhurst College was carried out, the all-clear was given and staff and students have been allowed back on site, with exams getting underway at 10am.
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police in London, which is co-ordinating the operation responding to the threats, said: “The Metropolitan Police Service is investigating a suspected linked series of malicious communications sent to a number of educational organisations around the UK.”
He refused to give further details about today’s incidents, or reveal which other schools or colleges have been targeted, although he said the threats have been ongoing around the country since April.
A spokeswoman for Brockenhurst College said the threat had been made early this morning, and the site was evacuated before most students had arrived for the day.
Staff and students arriving at the gates were kept outside for around 45 minutes before being allowed inside.
She said: “We had a hoax email this morning.
“Once the police were satisfied we all returned to the college and the exams started with a slight delay.”
Paul Hindson, marketing manager at Eastleigh College said the decision had been made with police not to evacuate the site.
He said: “We’ve undertaken a full search of the campus and college buildings and nothing was found.
“We have police on site, and in liaison with them we took the decision not to evacuate.
“It’s rare for these things to happen, but we have a systematic procedure and processes in place to deal with such things, so we’re well prepared and there was no disruption.”
It comes just two days after a bomb scare forced the evacuation of a Dorset school.
All-boys Poole Grammar School was cordoned off on Wednesday morning after a malicious email was sent claiming an incendiary device had been placed on campus.
A thorough search of the site was carried out, but nothing untoward was found.