STUDENTS were locked in their classrooms at a Rockhampton school as police swarmed the campus on the trail of a young offender.
Members of the Tactical Crime Unit chased the juvenile, believed to be handcuffed after earlier giving officers the slip, through the grounds of Heights College in North Rockhampton yesterday morning.
He was pursued on foot through surrounding streets before he ran into the school where he was cornered and captured as the school's emergency procedures were implemented.
Heights College headmaster Darren Iselin said the offender had been quickly apprehended and the lock down had been for only four or five minutes.
But he praised the way students and staff had responded to the drama unfolding around them as the alleged criminal was chased down near the school tennis courts.
He said the college's normally peaceful and orderly routine was disturbed at about 9.30am when the fugitive was hunted through the property which borders Yaamba Road and Carlton Street in Kawana.
"It was a completely unrelated to any school activity," he said. "There was no prior warning. As soon as we realised what was happening we went into a precautionary lock down for safety reasons but it lasted only four or five minutes.
"By the time I got to where the police had gathered they had apprehended a man.
"At no stage was the safety of students or staff at risk. Staff and students were brilliant."
All the students were given a letter explaining the events to take home to their parents yesterday afternoon.
Police said the youth arrested at the school was one of three juveniles taken into custody as part of an investigation into unsolved property crimes.
A spokesman said the three, each aged 14 or 15 were being questioned about a number of offences primarily committed in Park Avenue, Norman Gardens and Kawana.
He described them as habitual offenders with extensive criminal histories. They were likely to be held in custody overnight ahead of court appearances this morning, he said.
Thousands of dollars worth of property, including photographic and computer equipment was taken from The Morning Bulletin in Quay St overnight Friday.
A property in Kilkenny Ct, Kawana was entered on Saturday afternoon. Various items were stolen, including keys to a vehicle. The car was started but the thief fled when he couldn't open the roller doors to the garage to drive the car away.