Pupils in two English towns were warned to head straight home from school Friday and not to loiter, as reports spread that children are being stalked by people wearing clown masks.
According to Kent Police, there have been several “suspicious incidents” in Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells in Kent, where children were terrified, or even chased, by people dressed as clowns or wearing Halloween masks. Allegedly, some clown impersonators approached children on foot, while others were driving around in vans.
In what could be a lead up to Halloween pranks, the Mirror Online reported last week that clowns were targeting pupils at Hillview School for Girls in Tonbridge, but now the phenomenon appears to have spread, with individuals wearing clown masks seen driving a van in Tunbridge Wells on Tuesday and Wednesday.
— KentSussexCourier (@KSCourier) October 9, 2015
After one boy was approached directly by two men in clown masks driving a van on Wednesday, schools in the town instantly issued the warning. The boy had run away from his assailants and immediately informed his school.
Elaine Buchanan, head teacher at the school, sent an email to warn parents about the incidents, saying some of her students had been approached several times by two persons wearing black outfits with white clown masks.
“It has been brought to our attention that some of our students have been approached in the vicinity on separate occasions (one outside Sainsbury’s and another outside Olive’s) by two people wearing black outfits with white clown masks. We have reported this to the police with whom we are actively working.”
Buchanan went on to say that students are communicating with each other on social media about the incidents and that should parents have any concerns, they should please contact the police and not the school. She added that on Friday they advised students to go straight home after school and not to loiter along the way.
According to the Kent and Sussex Courier, the school arranged for staffing outside the school when the children left Friday and advised that police were active in the area to protect the students.
Pam Mills, 51, has a 16-year-old daughter who attends Hillview School. She told the media that her daughter has a phobia of clowns and “literally goes into a panic attack” when she sees them. She added that a friend who understands her daughter’s phobia would be walking part of the way home with her.
“This is a sick prank if it is a joke as they obviously don’t understand the extreme reactions clown phobia can result in.”
Kent Police are actively investigating a number of incidents in the area involving people in clown costumes. A police statement said the incidents started two weeks ago after several reports in Tonbridge.
“On October 5 in Hectorage Road, pupils reported they were scared by people in clown masks.”
“On October 7 and 8 there were also reports of a woman in the High Street wearing a clown mask.”
The statement continued that during the following week there were reports of people wearing clown masks in a van in Tunbridge Wells.
While at present there doesn’t appear to be anything sinister involved in the sightings, police are continuing to investigate to find out if any offenses were committed and have added extra patrols to make sure residents feel safe.
The police statement it warned children to report immediately to their parents or teachers if they be approached by people behaving in a suspicious manner.
It does appear from a Twitter search that clowns appearing in Tonbridge is nothing really new.
The Inquisitr reported a while back on the “killer clown” pranks recently launched in Las Vegas by an Italian company, DM Pranks Productions. Residents in the area were terrified by the various antics of what is dubbed the “world’s scariest killer clowns.”
Watch Killer Clowns Scare Prank In Vegas! (Funny Reactions) video on: http://t.co/x0zEffTa9z pic.twitter.com/nPqre8MKUJ
— Viral Centro (@ViralCentro) September 17, 2015
[Photo courtesy Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 / Hersson Piratoba]