If you have coulrophobia – a fear of clowns – you might want to brace yourself before reading any further.
A Carrickfergus clown has turned himself in to the police after detectives received reports that he was frightening local children.
The PSNI started an investigation after receiving complaints from parents in the Co Antrim town that their children were frightened of a clown, who has been popping up all over the place along with his balaclava-wearing sidekick.
Known to his 5,600 Facebook fans as 'Carrick Killerclown', photographs of the freaky costume- wearing prankster outside a number of homes in the area have caused laughter and alarm in equal measure.
Images of him outside a school were taken down from his Facebook page after complaints they were causing the children distress.
A statement on the page read: "Due to the mixed response to the school pictures they have been removed – this whole thing is supposed to be a laugh and some parents find this distasteful and unfunny."
Earlier this week the 'Creepy Northampton Clown' – who has conjured up a worldwide online following simply by standing motionless in the streets of the English town while dressed up in his garish garb – was captured on video for the first time.
He is thought to be the inspiration for our own version.
They are both inspired by the clown from 1990 horror film It, played by British actor Tim Curry.
Meanwhile, a statement on the PSNI Newtownabbey and Carrickfergus Facebook page said officers had interviewed the Carrick Killerclown, who insists the late night duo's shenanigans are all a bit of fun.
A statement on the police Facebook page said: "Folks, in relation to the previous post regarding the man dressed as a clown, police have now spoken to this man and we are satisfied this was a prank with no sinister intent.
"The school involved and the parents who had originally reported their concerns to police have now been updated.
"Police must take seriously any report of suspicious activity or suspicious people in the vicinity of a school and fully investigate the circumstances, as we have done in this case.
"We'd like to thank everyone who has taken the time to 'like' or comment on the original post".
Coulrophobia is an extreme or irrational fear of clowns.
The 1986 horror novel It by American author Stephen King follows the exploits of children as they are terrorised by the eponymous being, who exploits the fears and phobias of his victims in order to disguise himself while hunting his prey. The 1990 film, based on the book, sees British actor Tim Curry (left) play the terrifying Pennywise the Dancing Clown, aka It.
The 'Creepy Northampton Clown', who has gained a worldwide following in recent weeks, and the Northern Ireland version, 'Carrick Killerclown', are both based on this character.