By Nina Harris
In the run-up to Halloween, a terrifying killer clown trend has spread across the Atlantic from the US to the UK over the past week.
The British public were fairly intrigued and amused by the images of the endemic in the US, but things have turned slightly darker since clowns have begun to torment British streets.
The craze began in South Carolina in August when police reported clowns in the woods “whispering and making strange noises”. Copycat sightings were shortly reported across the states.
Some say that it has been inspired by Stephen King book, It, and the subsequent horror film. Stephen King has even tweeted asking people to “cool the clown hysteria”.
The Police have sent out a warning to those involved.
So far clowns have been spotted in cities across the UK such as Newcastle, Leeds, Belfast, Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
An 18-year-old from South Wales has been arrested and fined £90 after dressing as a clown and jumping out at pupils as they left school.
Likewise, the West Midlands police said they have arrested a 13-year-old schoolboy after he assaulted another teenager while wearing a clown mask.
Even more extreme, a man walking home alone in Bournemouth was grabbed and dragged along the street by an assailant wearing a clown costume.
In Greater Manchester, a clown was captured on camera “wearing a hockey mask and a blood-stained poncho.” There was even a report of a man carrying a a plastic machete who followed four children to school in County Durham.
Further south, in Kidlington, Oxfordshire, a clown carrying a baseball bat was reported to have chased a 10-year-old child through a park.
People are becoming concerned
Understandably, parents and teachers alike are extremely concerned given the number of young people who have been left distressed by this incident.
Even though most people involved have escaped unharmed from these startling incidents, the police have been quick to react and warn potential offenders that they may be committing a Public Order Offence.
The Met say that “Whilst we do not want to stop people from enjoying themselves it is important that while having fun they remember to act in a responsible manner and understand that they could be prosecuted if a criminal offence is committed.”
These incidents may seem harmless and although nobody yet has been seriously injured, they are undoubtedly disturbing people. In the build-up to Halloween, it’s probable that the Killer Clown craze is likely to spread even further across the country.
It’s uncertain what sparked the craze and why people in Britain are jumping on board, what is clear, however, is that the public are afraid and intimidated.
It’s no longer fun and games.