POLICE are warning of the “distress and fear” creepy clown pranks can cause as the craze from America sweeps Warwickshire.
It follows reports of sightings in Stratford – one at the Recreation Ground, where a clown was hiding behind a tree near the playground, and the other in Canners Way, where three people were spotted wearing clown masks and intimidating passers-by.
The craze see people put on clown masks, or in some cases whole outfits, to try and scare unwitting members of the public.
Supt David Gardner of Warwickshire Police said: “We have received reports from members of the public who have seen or been approached by people dressed up as clowns. We believe this is linked to a wider trend across the country and in the USA.
“Whilst we understand that such incidents could be considered pranks by some I would like to appeal to those carrying out this behaviour, or thinking of taking part, to really consider the distress and fear they could cause people, particularly the more vulnerable members of our community such as children and the elderly.”
Warwickshire Police has received 14 reports of clown-related incidents in the past week alone, however not all of these reports relate to public disturbances. It also takes into account online reports and clowns trying to befriend people on social media.
Sightings in Warwickshire have also been reported in Leamington, Whitnash and Warwick Gates.