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Paper witholds children's surnames after hoaxer targets readers

The Kenilworth Weekly News has agreed to withhold the surnames of children appearing in school photographs after a hoax caller targeted the homes of pupils who appeared in the press.

The newspaper has reported how a bogus blackmailer has terrorised local parents by calling to say he has kidnapped their child in a cruel bluff.

The hoax caller makes a series of threats and demands to set their child free – but the child is actually safe in school.

It is thought the culprit trawls the media for names of children and then telephone directories until he reaches the parents.

Following the incidents all Kenilworth and Leek Wootton primary schools have asked the Weekly News not to print children’s full names, in an attempt to stop the threatening calls.

Now the newspaper has agreed to withold surnames, but says it hopes this will be a temporary measure and that normal coverage can be reinstated once the culprit is caught.

Editor Martin Lawson said: “This is very regrettable.

“We should be free to publish the full names of anyone who appears in the newspaper – that is part and parcel of what we do.

“But this has caused a lot of anxiety and we have the interests of the children, parents and schools at heart.”