School 'Extortionists'; Six Boys Arrested as the Head Smashes Protection Racket at Award-Winning Comprehensive

Article excerpt

Byline: ANDREW LOUDON

SIX boys of 14 have been arrested by police investigating a school protection racket.

The teenagers are said to have demanded fellow pupils pay them up to [pounds sterling]20 a time to avoid being attacked.

One boy who refused to hand over the cash was badly beaten up in his home.

Police were called in to Maltby Comprehensive School, near Rotherham, in South Yorkshire, as soon as headmaster David Musson discovered what was happening.

In the three weeks since, they have discovered that most of the extortion took place away from school premises.

A small number of girls played a minor role but were not arrested, said officers.

The boys have been freed on police bail and their headmaster says charges of blackmail, threatening behaviour, assault and criminal damage are likely to follow.

Some are also expected to face lengthy suspensions and possible expulsion from the 1,460-pupil former grammar school whose motto is 'honour through work' and whose best-known old boy is multimillionaire Sir Graham Kirkham, boss of Northern Upholstery.

The school, in a former mining area, is proud of its improving results and its close links with the local community.

It has won more than 100 awards for videos produced by pupils in a four-camera television studio.

The racket is said to have come to light when a 12-year-old boy complained to a teacher that he had been punched by two boys who asked for [pounds sterling]20 to prevent others attacking him in future. …