AN online group has claimed responsibility for hundreds of bomb threats sent to schools across the UK.

Apophis Squad has today argued its hoax, which saw hundreds of schools evacuated this week including Dowdales in Dalton, was "justified" in a bizarre video posted on Twitter.

Using its Twitter account, which states its location is in Switzerland, Apophis argues its threats were made to target network Velt.

Apophis said: "Addressing the email attack we did and our motives. We ask that you think about why we would do this. If Velt was a good standing network this would NEVER of happened. They lie to you and they lie to the press."

On Monday Dowdales School in Dalton, Lakes College in Lillyhall, North Lakes Primary School in Penrith, and hundreds of others across the UK, received a communication from the sender ‘’ that threatened action if police were informed.

The email stated: "We have sent a student in with a bomb. The bomb is set to go off in three hours.

"If you do not send money we will blow up the device. If you try to call the cops we will blow up the device."

The email appeared to come from gaming server VeltPvP, but the company said the account had been "spoofed", and the message had not come from them.

The US firm's CEO told the BBC he suspected the hoax emails had been sent by a disgruntled Minecraft player in a bid to damage VeltPvP's reputation.

The email address requested payment to an email address that used the domain but the website posted messages on Twitter denying any involvement.

It said: "We have nothing to do with the bomb threats that were sent out to the 400+ UK schools.

"We're extremely sorry for anyone who had to deal with this, but just know it's fake." is a US-based online "player-versus-player" server that allows gamers to compete against other users in the world-building game Minecraft.

Carson Kallen, the 17-year-old CEO of the firm, told the BBC he had a team of 50 people managing 10,000 users a day.

He said it was likely that a disgruntled user orchestrated the attack: "He was probably a player who got banned from our server and got mad. This is his way of trying to make us look bad."

A spokesman for the National Police Chiefs' Council said: "Police forces are aware of a series of malicious hoax communications to schools across the country. Enquiries continue to establish the facts and forces are working together to investigate who is responsible.

"Police take hoaxes extremely seriously. They divert police resources and cause disruption and alarm to the public.

"Anyone with information should contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.”