Killer clown craze strikes in Cookstown or are the police and media pandering to irrational fears?
The terrifying craze of '˜creepy clowns' appears to have struck in Cookstown with photographs posted on social media capturing an anonymous individual in the town dressed as a clown and waving at passers-by and motorists.
The sinister craze, which started on college campuses in the US, now appears to have spread to Mid Ulster.
Elsewhere in the UK, freaky reports suggest that clowns have been sighted jumping out of bushes and chasing pedestrians down the street in Northumbria and Edinburgh.
Whether the reports are based on legitimate fears or ridiculous imaginings, police appear to be taking them seriously, further fuelling the craze that was ignited by over-protective parents, paranoid teenagers and click-hungry social media.
In the latest incident, young people in Cookstown appear to be using Facebook to alert their friends of a clown who was behaving in a creepy fashion at a local petrol station on Thursday night.
The colourfully attired clown in a blonde wig and heavy make-up appears to be cheekily giving the ‘jazz hands’ to unsuspecting motorists.
Whether the threat is real or not for Cookstown’s youth, or just some bored social media users piling into the clown car for a giggle and setting up a hoax is hard to tell.
In truth, the possibility of frightened teenagers and university students swarming out of the town because of a supposed killer clown might come as a welcome relief for many residents living close to the town’s nightspots.
Just remember, kids, you can never be too careful.
On a more serious note, police have warned pranksters who are posing as ‘killer clowns’ to terrify children that they could face arrest.
Officers are warning that such pranks could land the clowns behind them in serious trouble after one teenager was arrested for possessing a knife. A spokesperson for Northumbria Police said: “Officers have arrested a teenage boy in Blakelaw in possession of a bladed article in connection with one of such clown incidents.
“This arrest should act as a clear warning to others who are actively seeking to cause distress and potentially harm others.”