A PRIVATE school has been cleared of allegations that pornographic material was stored on a school computer.
Staff at Heathland College this week spoke of their relief after police confirmed that no illegal images had been found during the week-long investigation.
Detectives visited the Sandy Lane school last Wednesday after the allegation had been made in an anonymous letter, and one computer terminal was taken away for examination.
Officers said they would now start a new investigation to trace the author of the letter with a view to bringing charges of wasting police time.
Vice-principal Mrs Jacquie Hide said that staff were "thrilled" that the matter had been cleared up.
She added that the allegation could have had a very damaging effect on the school.
She said: "Everybody is very relieved that it has all been sorted out. We want to put it behind us now and carry on doing what we do best, which is looking after children.
"It was a horrible thing to be accused of and it made us feel physically ill that anyone could think we would be involved in something like that.
"I haven't slept properly since it started - I couldn't stop thinking about the damage it could do to the school. But we were 100 per cent sure they wouldn't find anything.'' Mrs Hide added that parents had been very supportive.
She said: "People who know us have never doubted us and we have had some wonderful support from our parents. They have been writing, e-mailing and phoning - their feelings were very strong.
"But, of course there are always the people who don't know us, those who may have been thinking of sending their children here and have changed their minds as a result of this.
"There are more than 30 staff here and this could have affected all their jobs. The children's education would have suffered if they'd had to move elsewhere so in that respect it could have been very damaging.
"I hope whoever did this can live with themselves. It isn't normal to go round accusing people like that."
DS Paul Murphy, of Accrington CID, confirmed that no further investigations would be made at the school.
He said: "The computer crime unit has examined the computer system and no illegal images have been found.
"The school has fully co-operated in every aspect of this inquiry and investigations are now ongoing to trace the anonymous author of the letter."