Police vow to hunt down vile bomb hoaxer
POLICE have vowed to hunt down a bomb hoaxer "very, very quickly" after a series of telephone messages forced a Gold Coast primary school into lockdown this morning.
Staff and children at Helensvale State School were forced to endure an hour and a half lockdown from 8.30am, causing chaos during the morning drop-off.
Police Regional Duty Officer Ray Vine said a series of four "incoherent" voice messages were sent to the school within a 10 minute period just after 10pm last night, threatening to hide a bomb on the premises.
"A full search of the school was undertaken ... and at this point in time we are satisfied that there is no risk to the school," he said.
The messages were discovered by staff around 8.30am just as students were preparing to start their day.
Inspector Vine said while the threats were found to be baseless, police are treating the incident seriously and will be working hard to identify the person involved.
"We are conducting checks in relation to the telephone number, we will be running our normal investigation into this type of incident," he said.
"We are looking to identify the perpetrator of that phone call very, very quickly."
The Child Protection Unit is now leading the investigation, and the person involved could face criminal charges and possibly jail time.
Inspector Vine said at this stage there was nothing to suggest another recent threat to local schools was connected, but it will form part of the investigation.
He warned residents of the dangers of threats against Gold Coast schools.
"Certainly any time there is a threat to a school it ties up significant resources, it creates concern within the community and it impacts the children - we're dealing with a primary school here and some of these children are quite young.
"It's a concern for us and it should be a concern to the community."
Parents who spoke to the Bulletin expressed anger that the school had once again been forced into a lockdown because of a telephone threat, but were quick to praise staff for how they handled the situation.
"I'm just angry that another person has caused this," one parent told the Bulletin.
"Clearly they don't understand the huge impact this has. Like I said we don't blame the school. They are stuck in a situation they didn't cause.
"I want to make it clear I don't blame the school and I'm thankful that they look after our children so well."