A spate of bomb scares has rocked universities across the country.
A spate of bomb hoaxes has swept through British Unis, with twelve cities affected.
In Cambridge, total of six hoaxes have been called in so far at Churchill, Clare, Girton, King’s, Hughes Hall and the New Museums site.
The University has been threatened by anonymous bomb emails since Tuesday 15th.
Clare, King’s and the New Museums site were fully evacuated and swept by cops before being declared safe.
Eva Nisse, a first year PPS student at Kings, told The Tab the mood was generally one of indifference. ‘The main question on everyone’s minds was “Is this the usual fire alarm and when can I get back to my toast?”‘
Girton and Churchill were not evacuated, but students were asked to keep their bags on them at all times whilst the college authorities regularly searched the area.
Cambridge University Communications Office confirmed that the bomb scares were in fact hoaxes as no devices were found.
But students have complained that evacuation at the New Museums site was shambolic. The fire alarm only sounded 45 minutes after the bomb scare started, while some students were told they needn’t be evacuated as long as they stayed away from windows.
Colleges throughout the university have now taken extensive precautions against a possible attack.
In emails sent to students, Senior Tutors and Head Porters have asked that students remain vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour or belongings. Evacuation procedures have also been detailed to students.
Epidemic of hoaxes
These events are the latest in a epidemic of hoaxes across English universities. All confirmed incidents have been delivered by anonymous email.
A total of twelve hoaxes have been reported. The first outbreak of hoaxes occurred in late April at Bristol, Durham and Kent Universities on the 23rd and 24th April. The first reported email was to Bristol. It read:
‘Two small bombs are hidden in Wills and Durdham Halls. They will explode later today. Take this warning very, very seriously.’
Similar emails were received by Durham and Kent. All the universities evacuated students and closed down the affected buildings.
The Bristol Epigram reported similar hoaxes at Sussex and Leicester Universities, but The Tab could not confirm this information.
After this initial phase, two further hoaxes occurred were not widely reported. Both Liverpool and Derby evacuated students from accommodation buildings. Derby University Press Offices alleges that the bomb threat and the evacuation were unconnected.
Week of chaos
From this Monday, a further spate of hoaxes disrupted university across the country. Canterbury Christchurch was targeted on Monday, swiftly followed by the first second Cambridge attacks on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Today there have been incidents at three Universities. In addition to Cambridge, Kent and Bath Spa were hoaxed. Again, all the hoaxes have taken the form of anonymous emails.
At Kent, six exams had to be cancelled. Denise Lovett, a 21-year-old economics student, told The Tab: “We were waiting for an hour outside to see whether they would let us back in. But someone took one of the exam papers while we were waiting and others had obviously looked at it and they decided to not let us do the exam. I’m annoyed because I was really prepared for this one!”
There have been mixed accounts of the police’s response. Some universities have alleged that the matter is being dealt with solely by local police and that the events are being viewed as unconnected. But an anonymous university source claimed the investigation was being handed to the Metropolitan Police as a ‘national investigation‘.