A SCHOOL was forced into lockdown after a suspected knifeman was spotted outside the gates before being tackled by a heroic caretaker.

Lincewood Primary School was shut suddenly yesterday morning after reports of a man being seen with the knife near the school.

Eyewitnesses claimed the school caretaker, known as Mr Wells, ran and tackled the man during an instinctive act of heroism.

A spokesman for the school, in Berry Lane, Langdon Hills, said: “At 7.55am yesterday morning a man was seen with a knife close to Lincewood Primary School.

“As soon as staff became aware of the situation, emergency safeguarding procedures were acted upon.

“As there were a small number of pupils in the school at this time, attending a pre-school breakfast club, the school was immediately locked down, all the doors were closed and locked and children arriving for school were taken directly into the main building.

“This is a scenario for which staff have trained and staff present in the school knew exactly what action to take.

“Essex Police were called and dealt swiftly with the matter.

“No pupils or adults were harmed during this incident.

Julie Braithwaite, acting headteacher, added: “I am fully satisfied the correct action was taken to ensure the matter was dealt with appropriately and I want to praise the swift and calm actions of my staff.

“We have assured parents that safeguarding procedures and guidelines were followed at all times and that the safety and welfare of pupils and staff members remains of utmost concern to us.

“All school staff are committed to the emotional wellbeing of pupils affected by this incident and we will provide support for as long as it is required.”

Nobody with a weapon entered the school grounds and the children were kept safe.

The incident caused increased fears following a terror attack in London on Friday and the tragic incident in Loughton where a child was killed and several others injured outside a school.

A spokesman for Essex Police said: “A man has been arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon.

“We were called to reports that a man was seen with a knife at The Triangle in Langdon Hills at around 7.55am.”

A 53-year-old man was arrested.

Police continue to question a suspect.