Calls made to end ‘killer clown’ craze in north Essex
As posts on Facebook and Twitter soar through the roof about the American clown craze sweeping across Essex, Suffolk and the UK, calls have been made for the practice to end.
The craze, for those unaware of it, sees people dressing up as ‘killer clowns’ – reminiscent of It from the Stephen King novel of the same name – and hiding in bushes or lurking on street corners.
They then jump out at passers-by in a bid to scare them, all in the name of fun.
Some appear to have taken the craze even further, with two girls being approached on their way to Clacton County High School on Wednesday morning and asked if they wanted to go to a birthday party.
Residents have taken to Facebook to warn others when they spot a clown, with sightings reported in Harwich, High Woods Country Park in Colchester, and Lowestoft among others.
However some have commented that they believe the images are fake – generic pictures taken from other web sites – suggesting the fear of the craze may have outgrown the craze itself.
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Now Mike Lilley, Colchester borough councillor for community safety, said the craze needs to stop.
He said: “I’m a great fan of Stephen King but this is completely outrageous.
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“People should stop straight away. They don’t realise what they are doing.
“It’s not fun, it’s not clever, it’s just scary.
“Someone might end up getting hurt.”
The Colchester Clown Sightings page on Facebook was created in 2013, suggesting the phenomenon is not as new as is commonly thought.
Acting Chief Insp Darren Deex from Essex Police said: “Essex Police is aware of a number of reports from concerned residents across the county relating to people dressed as clowns, specifically near to schools during opening times. It would appear the intentions of these ‘clowns’ is to scare members of the public however, to date, there have been no reports of physical threats of harm or violence being caused.
These incidents follow on from a ‘craze’ originating in the USA whereby people dressed as clowns have been photographed or filmed carrying outs various acts with the intention of scaring or causing fear. There has been huge public interest in these photographs and videos, particularly on social media networking sites which more often than not do not represent accurate reporting.
“This inaccurate reporting is further fuelling the ‘craze’ and creating a perception of fear in the community.
“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.”
What do you think of the craze? Have you been scared, or have you dressed up as a clown? Let us know your thoughts by emailing email@example.com or post your comments below.