POLICE in North Yorkshire received eight reports on Monday night of people dressed as clowns trying to scare others, as the craze continues to sweep the country.

  • In York, two youths with masks and one carrying a baseball bat frightened two 11-year-old boys near Westfield Primary School.
  • A boy of primary school age was seen dressed as a clown in Strensall, jumping out at people and shouting
  • At Whitley Bridge, near Selby, youngsters dressed as clowns, including one with what looked to be a knife, were chasing a group of girls and shouting at them.
  • At Seamer Cricket Field, Scarborough, a boy chased by two older boys dressed as clowns.
  • In Northallerton, a member of the public reported a clown at their door, singing.
  • Also in Northallerton, five youths wearing clown masks were seen jumping out at cars on Malpas Road. Police stopped the youths and they handed over their masks to be destroyed. 
  • In Skipton, a clown stood in the middle of the road, and a vehicle had to swerve to avoid it.
  • Also in Skipton, there was a clown banging on the window of pizza restaurant on the High Street. 

On Tuesday evening, Humberside Police said they too had received a number of reports over the preceding 24 hours.

Superintendent Dave Hall said most had either been obvious hoax calls, messages on social media or simply sightings of people in clown costumes with no intimidation or threats and said they didn't want people to be unduly concerned.

But he said: "We have had a small number of incidents where individuals have jumped out at passersby or knocked on doors or windows.

“It is thought the majority of those involved are children or youths, but this behaviour is no laughing matter. It’s a waste of police time and has the potential to really frighten people – especially the elderly and young children.

“I would urge anyone considering getting involved in this kind of behaviour to think again. The act of frightening or threatening others may constitute a public order offence and could see you ending up with a criminal record.”

Both Humberside and North Yorkshire Police urged people not to engage in such behaviour and parents have been asked to speak to their children about it.

A North Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: "While some people may think this is funny, it is not for the person on the receiving end.

"It could also constitute a criminal offence if you frighten or threaten other people. The same applies regardless of what kind of mask you are wearing, if you set out to frighten or alarm people, you could be committing an offence. 

"Our advice to anyone who is frightened or alarmed by anyone else, regardless of what they are wearing, is:

  • Report the incident to the police on 101
  • If your safety is threatened, call the police on 999

"Please keep an eye out for your elderly relatives, friends and neighbours, especially at this time of the year when the nights are darker and Halloween is approaching."

Police in North Yorkshire and Humberside had earlier urged local people not to join the "killer clown" craze hitting various parts of the UK.

Sergeant James Main of Humberside Police said: “Nationally there have been a number of reports of people dressing as clowns and following people or jumping out on them.

"Those involved may think it’s just a joke, but it’s not funny.

“Not only is this a waste of police time, but this stupid behaviour has the potential to really frighten people. You could also be committing a public order offence and end up with a criminal record. Please don’t be tempted to do it. Think of the consequences.”

York Press:

The "clown craze", also known as "killer clown", appears to have been inspired by clown-related pranks in the US and has seen a string of copycat incidents across the country in the past week.

Have you seen any clowns in our region? Email details and photos to newsdesk@thepress.co.uk