POLICE ordered Battle Abbey School pupils to stay indoors after a man threatening to harm himself sparked a major search around the historic 1066 battlefield.
Sussex Police received a call just after 6.30am on Wednesday morning from the distressed man, who had found his way on to the battlefield.
As a precaution, officers told the school to keep all 250 pupils inside the building as the search continued for the man, who was believed to be aged in his 50s and from Kent.
The Sussex Police helicopter was scrambled to the scene and the Force’s dog unit was also called in to assist with the search of the area.
Officers told staff at the school that the man was not believed to pose a danger to anyone but himself.
Pupils were eventually allowed outside at around 11am for morning break time, but were warned to stick together in groups.
James Dennett, marketing manager at Battle Abbey School, was among a number of staff who patrolled the area in a bid to find the man.
Mr Dennett told the Observer: “We kept the pupils in until morning break, but advised them to stay in groups and not wander off the immediate school site, which was patrolled by staff.
“We maintained that until we were given the all clear by the police.
“There was never any suggestion that the man would cause the students harm.
“The police said he was not likely to be a danger to anyone but himself.”
The man was eventually found near Battle Abbey at 4.30pm.
He was unharmed.