A top cop has sent out a warning about people engaging in criminal activity while dressed as clowns, after it was revealed police have received 11 complaints about incidents involving clowns over the last three weeks.
The complaints have been made between September 21 and today, and the force confirmed it has also received 10 reports from the Barnsley area, 18 from Rotherham and 21 in Sheffield.
Complaints made by members of the public include being frightened by people dressed as clowns knocking on windows and doors, which is understood to have sparked panic in both adults and children.
Police have also received two reports of clowns with knives, which are now being investigated by officers.
Superintendent Colin McFarlane said: “There is a clear distinction to be drawn between young people who might be dressing up as we move into the Guy Fawkes and Halloween period and those that are dressing as clowns in order to commit public order offences or harassment.
"Clearly those that are crossing the threshold of criminality and especially if they are carrying weapons will be dealt with accordingly. I need people to understand that consequences of their actions and to take responsibility for them - South Yorkshire Police will not tolerate criminal behaviour.
“I urge anyone who feels frightened or threatened to report it to police.”
Between 21 September and today (12 October), concerns have been raised by 61 members of the public relating to incidents involving people dressed as clowns in South Yorkshire.
An incident in Dinnington, Rotherham, last night is also under investigation after a 17-year-old boy was assaulted by a man dressed as a clown.
It has been reported the boy was approached by the man at around 9pm in Lordens Hill and a wooden log was thrown at him, causing a cut to the victim’s head. He received treatment at hospital and has since been discharged.
Officers are working with the victim and enquiries are ongoing. Anyone who witnessed what happened can call South Yorkshire Police on 101, quoting incident number 1145 of 11 October 2016.
To report an incident call police on 101.