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Clown epidemic: PSNI declare the Lower Shankill area of Belfast to be clown free

Published 07/10/2016

File photo taken on October 21, 2013 shows, Halloween masks on a wall at Spirit Halloween costume store in Easton, Maryland. AFP/Getty Images
File photo taken on October 21, 2013 shows, Halloween masks on a wall at Spirit Halloween costume store in Easton, Maryland. AFP/Getty Images

The PSNI has declared the Lower Shankill area of west Belfast to be clown free at the end of a day marked by an international clown epidemic.

People dressed as clowns were involved in a spate of incidents across the UK prompting police forces to issue warnings about the so-called 'clown craze' trend.

There have been a number of incidents reported in England involving clowns, including children who were targeted on their way to school.

Earlier this week, Northumbria Police issued an appeal and warning after a series of incidents in Newcastle involving people dressed as clowns jumping out and scaring schoolchildren.

A 13-year-old boy was arrested in the Blakelaw area of the city on Tuesday following reports of someone dressed as a clown attempting to scare passers-by.

In Essex, two Clacton County High School schoolgirls were approached by two people dressed as clowns who asked them if they wanted to attend a birthday party at 9.20am on Tuesday.

Police issue warnings over 'clown craze' sweeping UK

People on social media also reported clown sightings on Friday in Cheshire, North Wales, Dundee, Norwich, London, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield.

However Northern Ireland appears to be clown free so far.

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