Hey, guys, time to cool the clown hysteria–most of em are good, cheer up the kiddies, make people laugh.— Stephen King (@StephenKing) October 3, 2016 Alice Slattery was in her car with children Lily, four, and three-year-old Honey when a clown climbed on her car bonnet at a set of traffic lights in ManchesterCredit:Mercury Press In Suffolk, a boy “younger than a teenager” was chased by “several people dressed as clowns” in Beatty Road, Sudbury, at 8pm on Thursday.A man dressed as a clown “wearing a hockey mask and a blood-stained poncho” was captured on camera in Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester, on Thursday.Police in South Wales, Gloucestershire, Bedfordshire, Essex and Northumbria have also dealt with a string of incidents. Terrified victims have taken to social media to document the encounters. Shaneice Price, 22, from Bloxwich, in Walsall, posted footage on Twitter of a red-hair clown who she claims tried to get into her car on Sunday.Sporting Adidas tracksuit bottoms and a beanie hat, the clown can be seen running across the road towards the driver’s door of her car.In another incident, George Birkbeck said he spotted a sinister figure holding a hammer in a Tesco car park in Plymouth on Friday.He brandished a beer bottle at the apparent prankster, seen wearing orange dungarees and make-up which mimicked Batman’s ‘Joker’ character, who then ran off. Chief Supt Boyd, whose force received the 14 calls, added that the craze was causing a waste of police resources. The craze in which pranksters or criminals dressed as clowns try to scare innocent bystanders started in the US in late summer. Library imageCredit:Peter Byrne/PA Kurtis Mulvaney took this picture of two clowns who terrorised motorists after emerging from bushes in ManchesterCredit:Mercury Press His concerns were echoed by Chief Inspector Paul Staniforth from Gwent Police, which has now dealt with 18 reports including clowns “running through gardens and peering through windows, lurking around shopping centres, parks and schools and jumping from trees”.Meanwhile, in Norwich a 30-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of public order offences after allegedly dressing as a clown and jumping out on a woman in a park, screaming and then chasing her.A string of other forces across Britain have dealt with reports in recent days of people dressed as clowns acting suspiciously and frightening members of the public. A masked man carrying a knife left a group of children 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 separate report saw two 12-year-old boys, one wearing a clown mask and another a V for Vendetta mask, go to Howletch Lane Primary School in Peterlee to try to scare children in the playground. Police forces across Britain have dealt with reports of people dressed as clowns frightening members of the publicCredit:Peter Byrne/PA He said: “While we do not want to be accused of stopping people enjoying themselves, we would also ask those same people to think of the impact of their behaviour on others and themselves.”Their actions can cause fear and anxiety to other people, this could be perceived to be intimidating and threatening which could lead to public order offences, arrest and a criminal record.”In addition, their behaviour is causing multiple reports to our call takers and is tying up police resources which could impact on calls to other incidents.” Coming 30 years after the Stephen King book, a big-screen remake of the clown chiller It might have passed with little fanfare beyond its cult following. Yet 11 months before the film reaches cinemas, it is already attracting international attention – and some suspicion – due to the sinister “clown craze” now escalating across Britain.Its makers, New Line Cinema, recently denied any involvement in the sightings after commentators pointed out the coincidental timing of the release of promotional pictures.Within weeks of the first published images of the fictional killer clown Pennywise, played by Bill Skarsgård, police in more than 20 US states had recorded incidents reported by members of the public.And the craze is now blighting British streets in huge numbers too.In the past 24 hours alone, one police force had to deal with 14 incidents of people dressed as clowns threatening unsuspecting passers-by. Police forces across the country have warned that incidents are accelerating ahead of Hallowe’en. Despite the Hollywood company’s denials, many have expressed concern that the proliferation of masked pranksters terrifying unsuspecting members of the public has in part been inspired by King’s book.Nigel Adams, the Tory MP for Selby and Ainsty, told the Daily Telegraph: “Hollywood has taken a sinister turn with its interpretation of the clown in recent years and if this is in turn coming onto our streets, where people are dressing up to intimidate members of the public, then clearly this needs some thought.”King himself tweeted: A studio spokesman previously told American media: “New Line is absolutely not involved in the rash of clown sightings.”Across Britain, police forces warned sightings had increased over the weekend – and indicated the situation was getting out of control.Assistant Chief Constable Catherine Hankinson, of Greater Manchester Police, said: “We are aware of this menacing craze, which originated in the USA, and will take action against those who are causing this fear.“There has been a lot of speculation on social media and I’m urging people to refrain from fuelling this craze and creating more distress.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? 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