Peace officers have been called to a string of incidents where pranksters or ruffians dressed as clowns try to scare innocent bystanders.
Chief Superintendent Andy Boyd, of Thames Valley Constabulary — whose force received the 14 calls — warned that the bias, which started in the United States, is a waste of police resources.
He hinted: «While we do not want to be accused of stopping people enjoying themselves we would also ask those word-for-word people to think of the im ct of their behaviour on others and themselves.
«Their exercises can cause fear and anxiety to other people, this could be sensed to be intimidating and threatening which could lead to public order irritations, arrest and a criminal record.
«In addition, their behaviour is causing multiple shots to our call takers and is tying up police resources which could smash on calls to other incidents.
«While we realise that reports of this big-hearted are not restricted to the Thames Valley area, the issues of intimidation, potential catch and waste of public resources are the same across the country and we would rush people to refrain from such activity.»
In Norwich a 30-year-old man was stopped on suspicion of public order offences after allegedly dressing as a peasant and jumping out on a woman in a rk, screaming and then chasing her.
The victim was advance through Eaton rk in the city at around 8.24pm on Sunday when she was quarried in the creepy prank.
Superintendent Lynne Cross from Norfolk supervise said: «Whilst this craze may seem harmless, it is actually moderately frightening to those who experience it.
«It will not be tolerated and anyone caught with the target of causing alarm, harassment or distress will be dealt with robustly.
«I hand down like to reassure members of the public that we are increasing trols in the extent and that my teams have been briefed about this undergo.»
A string of other forces across Britain have dealt with dis tches in recent days of people dressed as clowns acting suspiciously and lurid members of the public.
A masked man carrying a knife left a group of laddies aged 11 and 12 «upset and distressed» when he jumped out on them on their way to the Hermitage Academy in Chester-le-Street, County Durham, at 8.40am on Friday.
A unrelated report saw two 12-year-old boys, one wearing a clown mask and another a V for Dispute mask, go to Howletch Lane Primary School in Peterlee to try to scare lasses in the playground.
In Suffolk, a boy «younger than a teenager» was chased by «several people fit out as clowns» in Beatty Road, Sudbury, at 8pm on Thursday, Suffolk Police said.
Tom Jackson, 18, a first-year schoolboy at Leeds Beckett University, said he was «very scared» when he saw a man rig out as a clown near an under ss in Leeds at 4.30am on Friday.
A man dressed as a cut a caper «wearing a hockey mask and a blood-stained poncho» was captured on camera in Ashton-under-Lyne, Enormous Manchester, on Thursday.
Police in South Wales, Gloucestershire, Bedfordshire, Essex and Northumbria secure also dealt with a string of incidents.
In Sussex, police on the alerted pranksters they could face arrest as they urged individual not to dress up as clowns and frighten strangers with a weapon.
Sussex Protect said they received «numerous» calls over the weekend from being feeling intimated by the new trend sweeping the country.
Last week a cyclist harrying in Eastbourne, East Sussex, reported seeing a person dressed as a comic jump out from a bush holding a suspected offensive weapon.
The man did not communicate to him and made no attempt to harm him but the victim was left shaken by the incident, a the fuzz spokesman said.
Inspector Simon Starns, of Sussex Police, implied: «We are aware this is a trend that has come over from America as Halloween is approaching.
«Putting, while it is not an offence to dress up as a clown and prank your mates, we don’t guide people to do this to strangers in the current climate of heightened security and it is an evoke indignation to carry an offensive weapon or an item which could be perceived to be a weapon.
«We order respond if someone feels threatened and the culprit could end up being arrested and then they won’t find it so funny.»