Professional entertainer Alan Strong has been in the clowning business for 18 years but says the sinister prank of dressing up as a ‘killer clown’ to scare bystanders could threaten his livelihood.
The 48-year-old from Morecambe said: “I don’t want it to ruin my career. Clowns were never meant to be scary and I’m really worried about this craze.”
Police confirmed they’d had several scared callers over the weekend as the ‘killer clown’ trend, which originated in America, made its way to Lancashire.
Officers searched Blackpool Road, Preston, at around 10pm on Monday after a frightened dog-walker said they’d seen a gang of clowns carrying baseball bats.
No sign of the group could be found but police have warned any kind of anti-social or criminal behaviour could result in arrest and a criminal record.
Alan, who performs as Ally the Clown, said: “I’m hoping it’s because Halloween is coming up but it’s getting out of hand.
“Clowns aren’t about scaring people, they’re comedians for kids. It’s slapstick, Tom and Jerry, Harry Hill kind of stuff and it’s a shame people are trying to make them something they’re not.
“People make clowns scary along with the media, films and TV programmes. These people doing the pranks should dress up as pirates instead because they’re actually meant to be nasty people.”
Alan said his workload hadn’t been hit by the craze yet but says it’s usually adults not children who get scared.
“Kids just find clowns funny, the falling over and the messing around,” he said. “It’s the adults who often have the genuine phobia but I’d never go over and scare them, that’s not what clowns do.
“I don’t know why people are doing it, but it’s not fun if you’re a clown. It’s just a good job I don’t look like a clown all the time otherwise I’d be getting arrested!”
Chorley police also confirmed they’d had reports of “young teenagers participating in the so-called killer clown craze”.
And the entertainer and magician, who reached the Britain’s Got Talent quarter final in 2010, hopes the clown frenzy blows over soon.
“A few years ago this was the ‘Scream’ masks now it’s people dressing up as clowns,” Alan said. “This just isn’t funny and that’s all clowns should be.”