Police have issued a warning to would-be killer clowns in the aftermath of an incident in Whiteabbey on Wednesday.
Commenting on the incident, a PSNI spokesperson said: “It was reported that just after 11:05pm on Wednesday, October 12, three teenagers were followed by a male in a clown mask in the Glenville Road area.
“The male was wearing a black hooded top and was walking a Yorkshire Terrier type dog on a lead. Police attended the area, but found no suspicious activity.”
Following the incident, a post on the PSNI Newtownabbey Facebook page stated that “a zero tolerance, no nonsense approach” would be taken.
The post said: “Killer clown costumes in their own right are not illegal, especially in the run up to Halloween when people are going to be dressing up to go to parties. Where it becomes a problem is when common sense fails us and people push the limits.
“Let’s look at the law: Common assault - any act which intentionally or recklessly causes another to fear immediate, unlawful violence. This means that if you cause someone real fear, whether you mean to or not, you could be committing an offence!
“Possession of an offensive weapon - any item made, adapted or intended to cause injury.
“Disorderly behaviour/Behaviour likely to cause a breach of the peace. Simply put, this is behaviour that is not orderly and both offences carry an immediate fine of £85 but could (depending on the circumstances) land you in court!”
The PSNI Newtownabbey spokesperson added: “How will the police react to a ‘killer clown’ scenario? Well we like to approach every job with a degree of common sense and proportionality. However, where child safety and public safety is concerned we will take a zero tolerance, no nonsense approach!
“May I suggest leaving the clown costumes for the parties? There is a very real chance that this sort of clowning around will land you in a cell for the night.
“Have fun over Halloween, be sensible, be safe and if in doubt give us a call on 101 (or 999 in an emergency).”