British police have expressed their unease with an epidemic of creepy clown sightings across the UK in recent days.
More than 30 sightings have been made since the sinister fancy dress craze crossed over from the US.
Police have been unable to arrest any clowns so far, with one force noting that they tend to “disappear” by the time officers show up.
Clown filmed chasing man with a hammer on night of six 'attacks' https://t.co/fQgnuERSFA
— Metro (@MetroUK) October 9, 2016
Although there is no law specifically preventing people from donning nightmarish clown garb and stalking the streets, chiefs have warned that deliberately scary behaviour could be classed as an offence.
A spokesman for Essex Police told The Sun: “We would also like to warn people who are thinking of being actively involved in this ‘craze’ that in doing so they may commit offences under the Public Order Act 1986 and to be more considerate of the feelings of others, especially young children and the elderly.”
His intervention followed threats made online that “20 clowns with knives” would descend on an array of local schools.
The newspaper compiled a list of clown sightings in the UK, covering virtually every part of the country. Locations include:
Stretford, Greater Manchester | Chester-Le-Street, County Durham | Gloucester | Ellesmere Port | Brotton, North Yorkshire | North Shields, Tyne and Wear | Clacton, Essex | Liverpool | Sudbury, Suffolk | Caernarfon, North Wales | Ponteland, Northumberland | Dundee | Plymouth, Devon | Ashton-Under-Lyne, Greater Manchester | Sheffield | Newcastle
#DebateWithFFL Policy Issues We Have Yet To Address:
1) Clown Attacks
3) Whether or not a hot dog is a sandwich
— Emma (@politics_n_prep) October 10, 2016
The true figures for clown sightings will be higher, however, as they do not include sightings mentioned by police for which no precise location was given.
Thames Valley police were called to 14 sightings on Sunday alone, while Police Scotland has confirmed emergency clown call-outs as well, though it declined to specify the number.
But even by conservative estimates, that makes more than 30 sightings since UK clowns began to appear.
Heat Street has been reporting on the 2016 clown phenomenon since it began in Columbus, Ohio and rural parts of South Carolina in early September.