Rumours over St Mary's hoax bomb threat

As Wollongong police investigate the origins of a bomb hoax that sparked the evacuation of St Mary Star of the Sea College on Thursday, rumours have emerged it began with the ex-boyfriend of a student.

A Facebook post on Thursday afternoon dismissed the hoax as nothing more than the fallout between two young people ‘‘so the boy called in a bomb threat’’.

Police said they were investigating a number of lines of inquiry.

Detective Inspector Tim Beattie said officers were initially alerted to a potential threat at the school by a triple-0 call just before 9am.

‘‘That threat prompted us to respond and evacuate the school and conduct an examination of the school grounds,’’ he said.

Insp Beattie said the threat was taken very seriously and a large police response was mounted.

‘‘We’ve involved a considerable amount of resources, not only from the local area command but also the highway traffic command, police rescue and the dog unit also becoming engaged in this operation,’’ he said.

‘‘The resources are all about ensuring the school is safe and the students are safe.’’

An investigation into the initial call had now been launched, Insp Beattie told the Mercury.

‘‘The origins of the threat are subject to an investigation,’’ he said.

‘‘Obviously we’re keen to hear from anyone who has information about the origins of this call.’’

College principal Dr Frank Pitt said he was contacted by police about 9.15am and asked to evacuate the premises.

He said it took between three and four minutes to evacuate the school – which includes about 1100 students and 120 staff - and praised the girls for their calm manner.

A text was sent to parents telling them the school was in lockdown when the students were first evacuated, and another was sent advising them when the hoax had been cleared by police.

Students began returning to the college just after 11am, with police stopping traffic along Harbour Street to speed up the process.

Students then gathered in the school hall for Dr Pitt to debrief them on the situation.

‘‘I thank you so much for your sensible approach,’’ he said.

Classes continued as normal for the rest of the day.

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