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Fancy dress shops urged not to sell clown costumes amid 'killer clown' craze sweeping across UK

A person pictured wearing a clown costume in a street in Liverpool. Credit: PA Wire

Fancy dress shops across the UK have been warned by police not to sell clown costumes to potential pranksters amid the ongoing "killer clown" craze.

Officers in Newcastle and Gateshead visited shops to ask them not to sell costumes, while Northumbria Police said it will send officers to a school targeted by a group calling itself "killerclownsnortheast".

Forces across the UK warned that anyone using clown costumes to scare innocent members of the public would face arrest.

Retailer Angels Fancy Dress, which has two London stores, said it had no plans to withdraw clown costumes despite seeing an increase in demand.

One boy was left bruised after an encounter with a person wearing a clown costume. Credit: PA Wire/GMB

The store said it was not its responsibility to withdraw a "technically inoffensive item in response to a fad".

The police warning comes amid a spate of incidences reported to police.

Kent Police received reports of 59 clown-related incidents between October 7 and 10, while Thames Valley Police dealt with 14 reports in 24 hours at the weekend.

On Tuesday, armed police from Scotland Yard's aviation unit arrested a suspect wearing a clown mask and carrying a fake gun about five miles from Heathrow Airport in Hillingdon, west London.

The 'killer clown' craze has swept the UK following similar incidences in the US. Credit: PA Wire

Simon Chinery, 28, cut his fingers "to the bone" while trying to disarm a clown wielding a knife, while 17-year-old Owen Russell said he had needed stitches after an attacker wearing a clown costume threw a tree branch at him.

An 18-year-old from Penyrheol, Caerphilly, was given what is believed to be the first criminal record connected with the "killer clowns" when he was issued with a fixed penalty notice and fined £90 for a public order offence.

Gwent Police said a man dressed as a clown had been intimidating children outside St Cenydd Comprehensive School in Caerphilly.