Hospital clowns cancel show amid 'killer clown' fear

A clown production company has been forced to cancel a children's hospital show in the wake of the "killer clown" craze.

The Clown Doctors were due to celebrate 10 years of visiting sick children but feared they would be mistaken for "killer clowns".

Dr Rumtumtumich, Dr Lulu McDoo and Dr Poppy Sneezitoff form the Clown Doctors, who planned to visit the Great North Children's Hospital in Newcastle.

However, they were advised to postpone the event by hospital staff as the number of incidents involving "killer clowns" scaring members of the public increases.

Martin Wilson, director at TIN Arts in Durham - who run the clown programme - said they were disappointed, but hoped the hype would die down soon.

Dr Rumtumtumich forms part of the Clown Doctors Credit: The Clown Doctors

"It's our 10th anniversary so we had a special, larger event planned where we would have clowns in the wards and across the public spaces", Mr Wilson said.

"They wouldn't have masks on, just red noses and doctor coats, but the hospital security said they had been placed on a local hit list for the killer clown craze.

"It means we're no longer able to do the bigger event and will have to just stick to the wards".

Mr Wilson said the work they do with the youngsters is part of the therapeutic treatment they receive - and during the 10 years they have met more than 30,000 children.

In response to the craze, police forces across the UK have warned that jokers or criminals using the costumes to scare innocent members of the public will face arrest - as they deal with a wave of reports.

Fancy dress shops have been asked not to sell clown costumes to anyone they think might be a prankster amid the ongoing "killer clown" craze.