Hampshire & Dorset Police Warn Clown Pranksters

11 October 2016, 08:16 | Updated: 11 October 2016, 08:23

After warnings to pranksters dressed as clowns in Hampshire, police in Dorset also now say any 'fear and distress' won't be tolerated.

They're investigating after a man was dragged along Richmond Park Road in Bournemouth by a clown and injured, last Friday.

A Dorset Police spokesperson said:

"Between Friday 7 October and Sunday 9 October 2016 Dorset Police received a number of reports of members of the public being scared by people in clown costumes. The incidents happened in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Blandford. 

"In one of the incidents in Richmond Park Road a man was assaulted by another man who had his face painted like a clown. No arrests have been made."

Bournemouth North Neighbourhood inspector Dave Kewley said: 

"While it obviously is not an offence to wear a costume in public, we would ask people to think about their behaviour toward others and what impact it may have. 

"Anti-social behaviour and any actions that cause fear and distress will not be tolerated and could constitute a public order offence. Incidents such as these may seem harmless but can be frightening to those who experience it."

There have also been a number of reports recently across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Hampshire Police Superintendent Paul Bartolomeo said: 

"We don't want to be killjoys but some of these incidents have been extremely frightening for those involved.

"We would ask people to think about the impact of their actions. What to them is a harmless prank, could be an intimidating and threatening experience to others, especially young children and vulnerable people.

"Also, by taking part in this craze, people could find themselves in a situation which leads to a public order incident. They could be arrested and ultimately end up with a criminal record.

"These incidents are also taking up valuable police time and resources, and will ultimately have an impact on other calls coming into the control room and officers attending other incidents.

"This appears to be a national craze at the moment and we would strongly advise people in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight not to be part of it."

If you have any concerns or need to report an incident, call police on 101.