A man dressed as a clown has been spoken to by Carrickfergus police after being spotted posing for photographs in school playgrounds.
Several parents expressed concern after the self-styled “Carrick Killer Clown” appeared on Thursday afternoon along with a sidekick wearing a balaclava.
Police later confirmed the man behind the incident had come forward and it was being treated as “a prank with no sinister intent”.
The Carrick clown appears to have been mimicking the antics of another joker known as the Northampton Clown.
His English counterpart has been using the Facebook website to post clues hinting at his next appearance around the east midland’s town.
However, the Northampton prankster has been careful to avoid any run-ins with the police.
When news of the Carrickfergus incidents became known, the PSNI released an appeal for information saying they were investigating reports of two males acting suspiciously in the vicinity of two secondary schools.
“This is one of several incidents that police have been made aware of involving a man dressed in a clown’s outfit,” a police spokesman said.
The PSNI later said one of the men involved had “kindly come forward to explain what was happening” and Carrick police posted a message on Facebook saying: “He assures me that this was a prank and it was not his intention in any way to frighten the school pupils or cause distress.”
Speaking to BBC Radio Ulster’s Evening Extra programme, the Carrick clown said he had been sent messages from people concerned about their children.
“That wasn’t the aim. The aim was for a bit of fun. I’m a parent myself,” he said.
“We thought this was a wonderful idea – to go and get this picture and it was only when somebody voiced their concern I was like ‘this is actually wrong, this isn’t even funny’.”
Full story in Saturday’s News Letter