Doncaster Clown returns as spate of creepy "killer clowns" hits US and Canada
A Facebook clown who became an overnight sensation in Doncaster has returned - six months after first bringing fear to the streets of the town.
The character, simply titled Doncaster Clown, has returned to Facebook after a six-month absence with the message: "Get ready Askern, I've done my time and I'm coming back this weekend. Don't let me see you out..."
It comes in the wake of a series of spooky clown sightings in the USA and Canada throughout the summer.
"Killer clown" sightings have been investigated by local police across North America with "sightings" reported on Twitter and Facebook.
However folklorist Benjamin Radford says that the "clown panic" sweeping North America and other parts of the world is nothing more than an urban myth.
"You don't genuinely have anything to fear from clowns," he said.
He traced the phenomenon back to 2013, when a young filmmaker from Northampton started dressing up as a clown and posting photos on Facebook as a viral social media experiment.
Soon, copy cats spread across Britain, Ireland, France and the US.
According to Radford, the other type of clown sighting that's been making the news recently is the "phantom clown" - which are pure myth.
Radford said sighting sprees, like the one we're having now, tend to peter out after Halloween.
The Doncaster Clown character first surfaced in April this year - but also reportedly brought fear to streets of the town three years ago despite no confirmed sightings.
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There were reported "sightings"on social media of the spooky clown haunting the streets of Doncaster in 2013 and police were moved to reassure the public.
Last month a 35-year-old man who refers to himself as the ‘Donny Klown’ was found guilty of public order offences after he was found to have deliberately scared two healthcare assistants while wearing a 'horror' mask.
During a six hour trial at Doncaster Magistrates’ Court, the court heard how Richard Vallance, of Argyle Avenue, Intake approached and caused ‘alarm and distress’ to two female healthcare assistants on their way to work at Doncaster Royal Infirmary in two separate incidents.
Vallance was ordered not to wear the mask in public for two years as part of a community behaviour order and was also told that he could not paint his face to look like a clown when he was in a public place.
He was also banned from uploading any picture intending to, or likely to, promote the Donny Klown on any website on social media.
He was also ordered not to take part in any discussions promoting the persona.
Vallance was handed a 16 week prison sentence for the offences, which was suspended for 12 months.
He was ordered to pay each of his victims £200 compensation, and £200 costs and told he must complete a rehabilitation requirement lasting 25 days.
After being sentenced Vallance said: “After hearing the impact this had I was ashamed by what I had done. It was seen as a prank, but after hearing the affect of my inexcusable actions I want to apologise.”