In the early evening of Monday 10 October 2016, the force received at least eight reports from concerned members of the public about young people dressed up as clowns, jumping out at them or chasing after them.
North Yorkshire Police is now asking parents to warn their children of the consequences of trying to frighten people following a spate of “clown” incidents across the county.
Police have issued warnings that 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.
Of the incidents reported on Monday evening, the majority were believed to be children dressed up and included:
- Near Westfield Primary School – two youths with masks and one carrying a baseball bat frightened two 11-year-old boys.
- Primary school aged boy in Strensall was seen dressed as a clown, jumping out at people and shouting at them.
Whitley Bridge, Selby
- Youths dressed as clowns, one carrying what appeared to be a knife, were chasing a group of girls and shouting after them.
Seamer Cricket Field, Scarborough
- Boy chased by two older boys dressed as clowns.
- Member of the public reported clown at their door, singing.
- Group of five youths wearing clown masks were seen jumping out at cars on Malpas Road.
- Police officers stopped the youths and they handed over their masks for destruction.
- Clown stood in the middle of the road, vehicle had to swerve to avoid it.
- Clown banging on the window of pizza restaurant on the High Street.
Police 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.