The U.S. trend of threatening clowns has now spread overseas.
British media outlets reported that a 30-year-old Norfolk man wearing a clown costume and mask was arrested on Oct. 9 after harassing a woman in a local park.
The unnamed victim was walking in Eaton Park at around 8:24 p.m. on Sunday when the suspect jumped from behind a tree and startled her, chasing her through the park. The suspect was given a warning after the attack.
“Whilst this craze may seem harmless, it is actually quite frightening to those who experience it. It will not be tolerated and anyone caught with the intention of causing alarm, harassment or distress will be dealt with robustly,” said Norfolk Police Superintendent Lynne Cross, reported the Eastern Daily Press.
Police across England have received numerous reports of clown sightings. In another incident, school children were targeted on their way to school.
The British Express reported that two students, aged 11 and 12, were walking to Hermitage Academy in Chester-le-Street, County Durham, at 8:40 a.m. on Oct. 7, when a knife-wielding masked man followed them to their school. The children were described as being “distressed but unhurt.”
“My officers will be on patrol outside the school at home time this afternoon to offer reassurance to children and parents,” said Northumberland Police Sergeant Mel Sutherland.”We believe this to be part of a much larger prank which is currently sweeping across the USA and parts of the UK.”
Sutherland added, “It is very alarming he was carrying a knife—however, we do not think he intended to harm the children and as far as we are aware, this is part of the prank.”
In a separate incident, Peterlee Police confiscated two masks and a hatchet from two 12-year-old boys who intended to scare students at Howletch Primary School.
The clown trend began in the Carolinas in late August and has since spread to over 20 states in the United States, Canada, and Australia.
In Australia, a 19-year-old man dressed in clown garb was arrested for terrorizing a group of girls near a shopping center in western Australia on Oct. 8. He has since been charged with disorderly behavior and possession of a disguise, with the intention to commit a criminal act.
Two male students wearing clown costumes were arrested for scaring their classmates at Pope Francis Catholic School in Toronto on Oct. 5. They were given a warning and released to their parents.