Boy’s spelling mistake leads to a police raid

It's everyone's fear. Get your spelling wrong on a document and find your door being kicked in by police the following day, demanding you hand over your laptop.

Well, that happened to a 10 year old boy last month in Lancashire.


A terraced house in Lancashire, where the boy lived. That's a TERRACED house, just to be clear.


If there's one word you don't want to misspell it's "terraced".

The boy, who is unnamed for obvious reasons, was asked in his English class to write about the type of house he lived in, so he wrote down "I live in a terrorist house", of course meaning "terraced" house.

Rather than explain to the boy that they'd asked for information on whether the house was attached to other houses, and not their political leanings, the school reported the incident to the police.

The next day the police arrived at the boy's terraced house to question the parents and examine their laptop. The police apparently take spelling mistakes extremely seriously.


Other spelling mistakes that could have gotten a police visit

  • "Semi-decapitated" instead of "semi-detached"
  • "Fully-decapitated" instead of "detached"
  • "Bombalow" instead of "bungalow"
  • "Bungaload-ofexplosivesinthehousesofparliament" instead of "bungalow"

Teachers are obliged to report any indication of extremism, no matter how small, and felt the need to report this particular spelling error to the police rather than reach for the red pen. Understandably, the family were not happy.

"You can imagine it happening to a 30-year-old man, but not to a young child."

"If the teacher had any concerns it should have been about his spelling. They shouldn’t be putting a child through this."

"He’s now scared of writing, using his imagination."

We would be too, if spelling could potentially lead to a spell in Guantanamo. The Lancashire Constabulary explained their actions in this case:

"This was reported to the police but was dealt with by a joint visit by a PC from the division and social services, not by anyone from Prevent."

"There were not thought to be any areas for concern and no further action was required by any agency."

They refused, however, to reveal whether they performed any spellchecks on the seized laptop.


Like this? Check out these 32 photos that prove spacing and spelling are EXTREMELY important...

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