Essex Police has issued a warning after reports people dressed like clowns are intentionally frightening members of the public.

Sightings of clowns have been reported around the country and reports on social media suggest they have been spotted in Basildon and Southend. 

In Wills Hill, Stanford-le-Hope, two youths have been arrested for a public order offence and had their costumes confiscated. 

Inspector Lewis Basford tweeted:

He also tweeted a photo of the costume: 


The force has urged anyone considering dressing as a clown with the intention to scare members of the public to remember they would be committing an offence.

Acting Chief Insp Darren Deex said: "Essex Police is aware of a number of reports from concerned residents across the county relating to persons dressed as clowns, specifically near to schools during opening times.

"It would appear the intentions of these ‘clowns’ is to scare members of the public however to date there have been no reports of physical threats of harm or violence being caused.

"These incidents follow on from a ‘craze’ originating in the USA whereby persons dressed as clowns have been photographed or filmed carrying outs various acts with the intention of scaring or causing fear.

"There has been huge public interest in these photographs and videos, particularly on social media networking sites which more often than not do not represent accurate reporting.

"This inaccurate reporting is further fuelling the ‘craze’ and creating a perception of fear in the community."

He added: "We would also like to warn people who are thinking of being actively involved in this ‘craze’ that in doing so they may commit offences under the Public Order Act 1986 and to be more considerate of the feelings of others, especially young children and the elderly.”