Hoax kidnapper picked pupils' names from paper

By Sarah Lagan

The Kenilworth Weekly News has stopped publishing children’s
surnames after a bogus kidnapper called parents of children who
appeared in the paper, claiming he had snatched them.

The caller is believed to have traced the children’s whereabouts by
taking down their name in the paper and finding their number in a phone
directory.

He has made a number of threats and demands to parents
claiming to be holding their children when in reality their are safe at
school.

As a result of the calls, all Kenilworth and Leek Wootton
primary schools have requested their pupils should not be named in full.

Editor Martin Lawson regrets having to stop naming children but feels it is a necessary step.

He
said: “It’s disappointing in a free and open society, but in this case
we have been left with no alternative. I am anxious to safeguard our
readers.

“We hope that by giving the issue publicity in the paper
it might put pressure on the police to get the caller caught.”Other
papers, including the Leamington Spa Courier and the Warwick Courier
have stopped naming children following similar incidents in their
circulation areas.

A police spokeswoman confirmed it appeared the
caller is targeting the homes of pupils who have appeared in the press
in a school event or function.

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