Schools locked down by police after litter picker mistaken for firearm

28 March 2024, 14:56

It is believed the litter picking tool was mistaken for a firearm, Northumbria Police said
It is believed the litter picking tool was mistaken for a firearm, Northumbria Police said. Picture: GettyImages

By Flaminia Luck

Two schools in Northumberland were locked down by police after a litter picking tool was mistaken for a firearm.

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The alarm was raised after a pupil saw a man entering woodland in the Mitford Road area of Morpeth at about 9am on Thursday.

Pupils and staff remained indoors as a precaution until police completed a search of the area, where two men were found litter picking.

Northumbria Police said the report was made "in good faith" by the pupil.

Police received a report of concern near a school in the Mitford Road area of Morpeth, Northumberland
Police received a report of concern near a school in the Mitford Road area of Morpeth, Northumberland. Picture: Google Images

A Northumbria Police spokesperson said: ““Police immediately attended and conducted a thorough search of the area where two males were spotted litter-picking, one of those matching the description provided.

“No other persons were identified in the vicinity of the school or surrounding woodland.

“While the report was made in good faith, it is believed that the litter picking tool was mistaken for a firearm."

The force added there has been an increased policing presence in the area.

Read more: Easter ‘Carmageddon’ begins: Brits hit the roads ahead of Bank Holiday weekend with 14 million journeys planned

Cheviot Learning Trust, which runs Chantry and Newminster schools, said the facilities "followed procedures".

The trust added pupils were kept in the building "on the advice of police" while the reports were being investigated.

"Safety of all our pupils and staff is our top priority and I am pleased to say that all processes were diligently carried out by our school leaders," chief executive officer Alice Witherow said.

"Our thanks to the police for their fast response."

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