Arrested Boy Did Not Have Weapon

A teenage boy arrested over what police described as a "firearms incident" outside a school in Essex did not have a weapon.

The 14-year-old was detained by armed police officers near the Bromfords School in Wickford on Tuesday afternoon after exchanging text messages with another pupil.

The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has been charged under the Malicious Communications Act. He has been released on conditional bail and is due at Basildon Youth Court on October 4th.

Police were called after the other student reported that a boy had a weapon outside the school. The school gates were locked and pupils kept inside the premises until told it was safe to leave. The boy was later arrested and taken to Basildon police station.

An Essex Police spokesman said: "He did not have any weapon. The incident began as a result of text message exchanges between him and another pupil at the school."

Headteacher Marian Spinks said: "The school was advised by the police shortly before the end of school that there was a potential risk to our students leaving the site.

"The police instructed the school to prevent anyone entering or exiting the site. The gates were therefore locked and the students were then directed to appropriate supervised spaces within the school and asked to await further instructions.

"Students' safety is absolutely paramount and staff remained with students at all times. Students were advised of the reasons for the action taken.

"Once advised it was safe and clear to exit the school, students were dismissed."

She thanked pupils, teachers and parents for their "patience, understanding and support with this challenging situation."

The school is a specialist technology college for 11 to 18-year-olds. Its website describes it as "a real community that cares and values all members of the school equally."