British police have issued a warning due to the “killer clown” craze sweeping across the country – and the world, that has seen some armed with knives following children to school and wielding “machetes” to terrorize drivers.
Police say they have been called to a string of incidents in which pranksters or criminals dressed in the circus costumes try to scare innocent bystanders. The spate of spooking is thought to have been inspired by similar clown attacks across the US in the lead up to Halloween.
Let's purge. pic.twitter.com/SwR90ALjyY
— Clowns/UK (@uk_clowns) October 9, 2016
Clowns in Manchester, one armed with a “machete” thought to be fake, reportedly terrorized drivers stopped at traffic lights. Two emerged from behind the bushes and began running towards the cars, sending one driver fleeing through a red light.
Mother of two Alice Slattery told the Telegraph that she turned to check on her children after Lilly, 4, began screaming while they were waiting at a traffic light. She then turned back to find a clown across her bonnet, prompting her to beep her horn and begin driving, forcing the clown to jump off.
As she sped away, she spotted a second clown “with something in his hand” who had been lurking behind the car.
PEOPLE IN THE NEWCASTLE AREA. PLEASE BE CAREFUL THE CLOWN ATTACKS ARE VERY VERY REAL pic.twitter.com/5vkjmjURnv
— megan bell (@Sexonmetria) October 4, 2016
“We saw similar behavior during the 2011 London riots, with people acting in extreme ways they normally wouldn’t. Putting on a creepy clown mask can have a similar effect, so there is the potential for incidents to spin out of control,” he explained.
In America, 12 people linked to clown attacks have been arrested across the country in the past two weeks. The craze first emerged in August when people dressed as clowns allegedly attempted to lure children into a woodland.
Creepy clown threats have also led to school lock-downs in Ohio and Alabama, and police have linked the fatal stabbing of a 16-year-old boy in Pennsylvania to the phenomenon, AP reports.