MORE than 12 schools have been targeted by hoax bomb threats, including three in Hampshire.

Students were evacuated in several areas across the country after receiving threatening phone calls which suggested there was a threat in the area around the school yesterday.

Oakfield Primary School in Totton, Castle Primary School in Portchester and Castle Hill Primary School in Basingstoke are some of the schools affected.

They all took the decision to evacuate the pupils and staff and a search was carried out.

All pupils returned to their desks by 11.30am.

Oakfield Primary head teacher Elizabeth Smith said: "At the start of the school day, we received a bomb threat phone call.

"We took immediate action to inform the police and evacuate the children to a place of safety until we could be sure that the call was a hoax and the school site was safe to return to."

Hampshire Police attended as part of the investigation and said: "It is believed the threats were a malicious hoax and there is no direct risk to pupils, staff or the wider community.”

According to local media reports across the country other schools have been affected today, including Sherborne Primary School in Sherborne, Southill Primary School in Weymouth, Parkfield School in Taunton, Boxgrove Primary School in Guildford, Ford Primary School in Plymouth, St Sidwell's School in Exeter, Laburnum Grove in Bognor, Castledown Primary in Hastings, Whitehouse Community Primary School in Ipswich and Highlands Primary School in Bransholme.

According to national reports, around 16 schools in Suffolk were evacuated with parents being told to collect their children urgently. It is not know if these were also due to hoax bomb threats.

As previously reported by national media, similar incidents happened in schools from Kent all the way up to Newcastle last May.

It was reported that 27 schools across the country were plunged into chaos during GCSE exams after receiving bomb threats.