People of King's Lynn advised to ignore clowns

People in a Norfolk town are being advised by police to ignore any clowns they might stumble across.

Officers say pranksters have been dressing up as clowns in King's Lynn and deliberately startling passers-by.

Police have vowed to hunt down the clowns to offer them "strong words of advice" - although they stressed that dressing up as a clown is not illegal.

Urging townsfolk not to give the clowns the satisfaction of a reaction, police said: "That's what they are after."

There have been clown sightings in the market town on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Police believe the clowns aim to startle passers-by before chasing them.

The King's Lynn clowns are the latest to plague the unsuspecting citizens of towns across England.

A clown spotted in Northampton in September became a global internet sensation, and since then there have been sightings in Burnley, Scunthorpe, Mansfield and Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland.

Norfolk Police are interpreting the King's Lynn clown activity as "anti-social behaviour being fuelled by reports on social media".

Supt Carl Edwards said: "Firstly, I'd like to stress that it isn't against the law to dress up as a clown.

"Nobody has been assaulted and it appears that the people involved are waiting for a passer-by to be startled by their appearance and run away, and then the clown runs after them for a short distance."

He pointed out that some people, especially the young or elderly, could be worried be any clown encounters.

"We will be out in the areas where reports have been made to attempt to find those responsible and offer them strong words of advice," he said.

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