• Newtown High School kept its pupils locked down for part of today after "scaremongering" social media posts about using firearms at a school in the town.
  • Three people have been arrested.
  • There were reports of a man with a gun, but these proved to be false.

THREE people have been arrested today after a social media threat to use firearms at a school in Newtown sent Newtown High School into lockdown.

Pupils were kept inside at lunch and break times after the "irresponsible and scaremongering" online posts, but left school as normal at the end of the day.

Armed police were also sent to Garthowen shops, opposite the high school, amid reports of a man with a gun nearby, but this was found to be false, and a search of the local area did not turn up any evidence of any weapons.

Video footage seen by the County Times shows police vans at the shops, but by 2.30pm there was no police presence in the area.

A statement from Dyfed Powys Police said that the lockdown was a result of Facebook posts intimating that the authors were going to use firearms at a local school.

The statement read: "Dyfed-Powys Police was made aware this morning, of utterly irresponsible and scaremongering posts on Facebook, suggesting that the authors of the posts were going to use firearms at a school in the Newtown area.

"The posts were by individuals local to Newtown, and police acted swiftly to address this, which resulted in the arrest of three local men, aged 20, 21 and 27 on suspicion of malicious communications and public order.

"As part of the initial response schools were also given advice to be vigilant.

"Understandably the posts caused serious concern in the area, and unfortunately the subsequent rumours led to misunderstandings. This is turn led to calls to the police alleging there was a man with a firearm seen outside Newtown High School.

"Police had to respond appropriately to these calls based on the threat allegedly posed, and a firearms unit was sent to the school. We can confirm that there was no man at the school, and when we have delved further into the detail of the calls, it has transpired that they were as a result of the rumours circulating, and not based on first-hand accounts.

"Police have also carried out thorough searches as a result of the arrests, and no weapons have been recovered. The local Neighbourhood Policing Team will also be present at the school at home time to reassure and inform parents, pupils and staff.

"We hope this clarification will reassure the community of Newtown that there is no threat to schools in the area, and the matter was dealt with seriously and swiftly. We would also appeal to everyone to stop sharing the posts and any associated rumours, in order to prevent any further unsubstantiated fear and alarm in the area."

A message from the head to parents said schools in Newtown had been asked by police to be "vigilant", and had decided to keep pupils inside. The last lessons of the day are going ahead as normal.

A spokesperson for Powys County Council said: “Earlier today, schools in Newtown were asked to remain vigilant by Dyfed Powys Police following information that they received.

“At the end of lunchtime, Newtown High School was put into full lockdown at the request of Dyfed Powys Police.  This lockdown has now been lifted.

“Pupils will be attending last lesson as normal and were able to leave at the end of the school day as usual.”

One parent, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "The children have been kept inside and told it is a drill for a rain day.

"We have not been told anything official by the high school and we are monitoring social media for updates."