The so-called ‘killer clown’ craze has come to Bexhill.
The bizarre craze, which originated in the US, sees participants dressing up as clowns with the aim of intimidating or frightening members of the public.
In some incidents in the UK, the ‘clowns’ have been spotted carrying knives, baseball bats and other offensive weapons.
A Facebook group called ‘Clowns Bexhill Area’ has been set up, but the craze is dividing public opinion in Bexhill.
While some say the craze is ‘harmless fun’ others have branded the Bexhill clowns ‘idiots’ and ‘sick in the head’, and there have been reports that children have been left frightened following encounters with the clowns.
One mother says her three-year-old was left ‘terrified’ after seeing a clown with orange hair, while a 13-year-old girl was apparently ‘jumped on’ by another participant in the town.
Some people have gone as far as to make threats of violence against those taking part in the craze.
Those behind the ‘Clowns Bexhill Area’ Facebook page said they planned to be at The Downs on Monday night (October 10), but said they were considering withdrawing after receiving a number of death threats.
They added that members of the group ‘do not carry weapons’ and ‘don’t chase little kids or elderly or anyone vulnerable’.
However some members of the Facebook group have called out the Bexhill Clowns as a hoax, claiming that the clowns have not showed up where they said they would be.
Others have pointed out that photos of the clowns posted to the Facebook group, purportedly taken in Bexhill, were in fact old photographs taken in other parts of the country.
However there is some photographic evidence of the clowns in Bexhill - one hoodie-wearing hoaxer has been pictured lurking in the car park of the De La Warr Pavilion.
Sussex Police is warning anyone taking part in the prank that they could be arrested.
Inspector Simon Starns said: “We are aware this is a trend that has come over from America as Halloween is approaching.
“However while is not an offence to dress up as a clown and prank your mates, we don’t advise people to do this to strangers in the current climate of heightened security and it is an offence to carry an offensive weapon or an item which could be perceived to be a weapon.
“We will respond if someone feels threatened and the culprit could end up being arrested and then they won’t find it so funny.”
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