A police officer was tricked by an internet myth and sent an urgent message to more than 80 schools warning about the dangers of fictional drug “strawberry meth”.
Thousands of school children and their parents were alerted to the non-existent drug that police claimed was being handed out at the school gates.
The over-eager officer had sent an email to headteachers across West Oxfordshire after reading a hoax claiming two children had been given the drug in sweet form by strangers.
The fanciful web-warning added that these two children had been hospitalised after taking strawberry meth – sweets laced with the illegal drug crystal meth.
Chief Inspector Dennis Evernden of Thames Valley Police said: “We would like to apologise for any unnecessary concern that we may have caused to schools or parents by sending the warning out about a drug that proved a hoax.
“The officer should have double checked before taking this action, which he did take with the best intentions. We will be making sure that this does not happen again.”