Fifteen public school boys vanish on half holidays

By Daily Mail Reporter


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FIFTEEN boys walked out from a public school during a half-day holiday.

By last night 12 of them had been found, but three, two aged 16, the other 15, were still missing.

The walk-out, after an incident involving school discipline, came on Monday from West Buckland School, near South Molton, Devon. Because of the holiday the boys did not have to wear uniforms.

A police search began when they failed to return.

Five were found hitch-hiking along a road and spent the night in a waiting room at Yeovil police headquarters, Somerset, 70 miles away.

Another was collected from Taunton, Somerset, 15 miles away.

Trouble

Six were spotted yesterday by a policeman at Tiverton, Devon, 25 miles away.

Tiverton police said: “They had straw in their hair and their clothes were crumpled. They must have spent the night sleeping rough.”

One of the boys at the school said last night: “They planned to go to London for a week then return. It happened after there was trouble about the boys having air pistols.

“A master got all the boys to turn out their lockers and the pistols were found.”

The boys who were returned to the school each received six of the best from the headmaster, Mr. Leslie Stephens.

Last night he said: “I feel strongly that this is an internal matter and should be dealt with as such. I refuse to comment further.”

The £375-a-year school (motto “Read and Reap”) has 203 pupils, many of them farmers’ sons.