Chil­dren’s fears of a clown

Rise in sin­is­ter sight­ings and Child­line calls as creepy craze hits UK

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Salina Pa­tel salina.pa­tel@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

AN ALARM­ING num­ber of ter­ri­fied chil­dren have made calls to Child­line about ha­rass­ment from ‘creepy clowns’, as the fright­ful phe­nom­e­non continues to sweep the coun­try.

More than 120 scared chil­dren have con­tacted the NSPCC’s ded­i­cated sup­port line for young­sters in the space of just one week.

The chil­dren’s charity re­vealed a quar­ter of those who had got in touch were un­der the age of 11, and in one case a 13-year-old girl was mes­saged on In­sta­gram from some­one pos­ing as a clown threat­en­ing to cut her throat and rape her.

Re­ports of the sin­is­ter trend where peo­ple dress up as fright­en­ing clowns to scare passers-by have reached west Lon­don, in­clud­ing a hor­ri­fy­ing im­age of a clown car­ry­ing a chain­saw at Brunel Univer­sity.

The craze has sparked a warn­ing from the Metropoli­tan Po­lice that sight­ings are likely to in­crease through­out Oc­to­ber as we ap­proach Hal­loween.

Among the cases re­ported to po­lice in­clude “killer clowns” chas­ing chil­dren with weapons such as knives and base­ball bats, and some in­stances have tar­geted schools.

Other sight­ings in­clude a man with a sus­pected firearm wear­ing a hor­ror clown mask in Hayes (see sep­a­rate story on right for more de­tails).

Mar­ion Moore, NSPCC West Lon­don Ser­vice Cen­tre man­ager, said: “Peo­ple get­ting dressed up as ‘creepy clowns’ and fright­en­ing chil­dren should take a long hard look at them­selves.

“Clowns are meant to make chil­dren laugh but these peo­ple are abus­ing this idea and turn­ing it into some­thing twisted and warped.

“In­creas­ing re­ports that these ‘clowns’ are not sim­ply seek­ing to frighten chil­dren but us­ing them to in­tim­i­date, com­mit crimes, abuse or bully are deeply wor­ry­ing and this trend needs to be stamped out.”

Ad­vice con­cerned clowns:

Talk to a par­ent or a teacher or trusted adult

Con­tact the po­lice if they are threat­ened by a creepy clown in the street

Call Child­line if they want to dis­cuss their wor­ries or get ad­vice and sup­port

Block and re­port abu­sive mes­sages from peo­ple pos­ing as clowns on so­cial me­dia

Chil­dren who spot a “creepy clown” should re­port it to a par­ent or adult as well as the po­lice. Call Child­line on 0800 1111 or visit the Child­line web­site for about chil­dren creepy

CREEPY CLOWNS: The Met Po­lice have warned that more sight­ings could oc­cur this month as Hal­loween ap­proaches

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