British police are cracking down on the ‘killer clown’ craze that is sweeping across the UK.
Dozens of creepy jokers have been roaming the streets of Britain and wasting a considerable amount of police time and resources, the Sun reports.
Pranksters have been warned the trend is “no laughing matter” with more than 20 reported incidents withing the last week.
Here’s a map with some of the locations!
Seven people in Alabama were charged with making a terrorist threat connected to “clown-related activity”.
— Daily Mail U.K. (@DailyMailUK) October 7, 2016
The craze has come over from the US, with ‘copy cat’ jokers dressing up in masks to scare members of the public, sometimes wielding a weapon.
Dr Adam Lynes, a criminology lecturer at Birmingham City University, told The Sun:
A lot of these people are copycats. You see this kind of behaviour at the more extreme end of the scale with killing sprees.
People get swept up in the movement and want the thrill of being involved.
Putting on a clown mask hides your identity and often leads people to act in ways they wouldn’t normally.
They’re unshackled from the normal rules of society.
In most cases in the UK, this comes in the form of scaring people. It’s probably not illegal but it’s not nice when the targets are children.
We saw similar behaviour 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.
— The Sun (@TheSun) October 10, 2016
The most recent sighting was in Manchester’s Cheetham Hill where two clowns were seen holding a Machete.
Thames Valley Police revealed officers had been called to 14 incidents in less than 24 hours over the weekend, and demanded an abrupt end to the craze.
— Claire Witch Files (@ClaireWitchFile) October 9, 2016
It is thought that some inspiration for the craze comes from Horror novelist Stephen King who wrote the novel It which features evil jester Pennywise as a monster preying on children.
Perhaps feeling a level of responsibility, King tweeted:
Hey, guys, time to cool the clown hysteria–most of em are good, cheer up the kiddies, make people laugh.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) October 3, 2016
In a very sinister twist, an Instagram account promised 20 clowns with a “knife” will descend on schools this week.
Clowns_r_coming_to_essex, which is now private, declared schools in Essex would be targeted on Wednesday and encouraged people to suggest other schools to target.
This is getting out of hand.