Allison is a digital reporter for the Bay of Plenty Times

School in lockdown after threat made

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Police at St Thomas More Catholic School in Mount Maunganui after a bomb threat was made. Photo / George Novak
Police at St Thomas More Catholic School in Mount Maunganui after a bomb threat was made. Photo / George Novak

A Mount Maunganui primary school was one of 13 schools around the country to receive a bomb threat yesterday.

St Thomas More Catholic School, near Bayfair, received a call about a possible bomb threat and police were called to the scene mid-morning.

A Bay of Plenty police spokesman said the school was evacuated according to the school's protocol.

He said all students and staff were safe while police worked through the incident.

A Facebook post from St Thomas More Catholic School said everyone was safe and advised parents to not come to pick up their children as they were in lockdown.

About 2pm another post was made asking parents who were able, to come collect their children at Arataki Reserve just behind the school.

St Thomas More Catholic School principal Kath Joblin was unavailable for comment yesterday evening, though comments on social media commended the way the school handled the incident.

While the school was on lockdown, nearby aquatic and leisure centre Baywave was also put on temporary lockdown.

Bay Venues chief executive Gary Dawson said police asked them to keep everyone inside Baywave until clearance came from police.

A swimmer told the Bay of Plenty Times he found out about the lockdown when he tried to leave Baywave. "I came out of the pool and was told they weren't letting people out into the carpark, that there was a bomb threat at a nearby school and police had cordoned off the Baywave carpark," the man said.

He said there were people waiting around, parents with their kids who had just finished lessons and "lots of people in the cafe".

Yesterday's bout of hoax bomb threats comes only a few weeks after 27 schools around New Zealand received bomb threat calls, including Tauranga's Brookfield Primary School.

Police yesterday said the calls involved the use of a synthesised voice.

Officers were investigating a number of lines of inquiries to establish the origin of these calls, and were continuing to work with the Ministry of Education and individual schools to gather information.

While police had so far not established any actual threat to any school, they said that until a threat could be ruled out, police would take all such calls seriously.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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