A TEENAGER has been arrested after thousands of schools, including some in Hampshire, received hoax bomb threats.

The 18-year-old, from Hampshire, is the third teenager to be arrested over the recent spate of malicious communications sent to school throughout the UK and US.

He was arrested on suspicion of making threats to kill, blackmail and malicious communications.

Police said schools received emails saying a bomb would be detonated on school grounds if money was not handed over.

At the time, Hampshire Constabulary advised the Daily Echo that schools in the county and on the Isle of Wight were among those targeted.

However, it did not advise any schools to evacuate.

National Crime Agency officers arrested the suspect at the home he shares with his family in Andover.

NCA senior investigating officer Marc Horsfall said: “The series of bomb threats caused huge worry and inconvenience to thousands of innocent people.

“Anyone thinking that law enforcement doesn’t take such offences very seriously should really think again.

“Our investigation demonstrates we will do everything we can to find out who’s behind the attacks and arrest them as soon as possible.

“Many cyber offenders believe they’re well hidden behind their computer screens.

“But this arrest shows, we will identify you and come for you.

“We believe those arrested so far are all part of the same group. Other members and anyone thinking of joining them should bear that in mind.

“This is an ongoing investigation with more work to be done.”

A spokeswoman for Hampshire County Council confirmed a number of its schools had been targeted.

The council, however, was unable to say which schools had received the hoax email.

Hertfordshire Police and the NCA arrested an 18-year-old man in Watford on 21 March, two days after the original bomb threat.

He is on bail with conditions severely restricting his online use and he is subject to regular, no-notice checks that he is abiding by them.

Another 18-year-old man from Abbots Langley, Hertfordshire, was also arrested on 28 March on suspicion of making malicious communications.