A Londonderry Councillor has warned that Killer Clown pranksters operating in the city are leaving local children unable to sleep at night.
Shantallow Sinn Féin Councillor Elisha McCallion has said there have now been several reports of people dressing up as killer clowns, carrying what appeared to be knives and trying to terrify members of the public.
She has now called on those involved in the craze to desist from “this dangerous activity before someone is seriously injured or worse”.
The killer clown phenomenon has exploded over recent months across America and now seems to have reached this side of the Atlantic.
Councillor McCallion said: “The craze involves people dressing up as clowns and scaring or intimidating members of the public.
“It apparently originated in the US and has seen a string of copycat incidents in various other countries recently. “I have received a number of reports from different areas of the city of incidents of individuals dressed as clowns and carrying what appeared to be knives.
“Parents are reporting children being terrified and unable to sleep after witnessing these individuals carrying out pranks.”
Councillor McCallion added: “I am calling on anyone involved in this activity to desist immediately and on parents to check if teenagers have purchased clown outfits recently and if so impress on them the distress and fear these pranks can have on children and vulnerable people.
“The PSNI should be notified of any pranks or sighting of anyone participating in this dangerous craze. “Anyone acting in a manner that causes distress or potential harm to others even as a so-called prank should be aware that they are liable to prosecution.”
Killer Clowns were made famous in Stephen King’s horror book and the follow up TV series ‘It’, which incidentally was set in a town called Derry, and more recently in the chilling TV series ‘American Horror Story’.
The PSNI recently said that they have received several reports in relation to posts that have been made on social media platforms where individuals have suggested dressing in clown costumes and going to schools to scare students and teachers.
Police said they were aware that posts of this nature have been placed on various social media platforms by people living in England and Dublin.
Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Martin, District Policing Command said: “I would advise anyone who may be considering posting information on social media platforms to consider what they’re saying. Encouraging behaviour that has the potential to generate fear or indeed posting threatening messages can lead to a criminal record. “Crime is crime, whether in the virtual world or the real world and there are consequences. Please don’t get caught up in something that could jeopardise your future.”