Tag Archives: Britain

Concerned Clowns Call For End To Copycat Crime wave

Britain’s clowns fear their good name has been tarnished after police forces around the country revealed incidents of people in costume scaring members of the public.

The copycat craze – believed to have been started by a man known on Facebook as the Northampton Clown – involves people dressing as clowns to surprise passers-by in public places.

Several police forces have issued warnings after reported sightings and now details released under the Freedom of Information Act have revealed the extent of the trend.

These include reports to Derbyshire police of a clown carrying a knife and incidents in South Yorkshire of a clown staring through the windows of people’s homes. Those two forces recorded 29 and 28 clown-related incidents respectively.

Tony Eldridge, secretary of Clowns International which represents the entertainers in Britain, said the situation had escalated beyond harmless fun. 

Eldridge, whose clown name is Bluebottle, said: “This is doing clowning no favours and is harming society.

“The people behind it might see it as a bit of a laugh, but for the victims it can be a horrible experience.

“The fear of clowns – coulrophobia – is a real thing and some people will react very badly to this. Not to mention people who are elderly or vulnerable.

“This has nothing to do with clowning, it’s a small group of people with stupid views and it spoils the fun for everybody else.”

Most legitimate entertainers followed a code of clown conduct which included not wearing their costume in public, he said.

“We have to reclaim clowning as a positive thing which brings happiness.”

The trend first emerged when the Northampton Clown rose to prominence over the summer, gaining nearly 200,000 “likes” on Facebook.

The person responsible posts photos of himself in public places. He most recently uploaded a photo taken outside a brewery in the town on 13 December.

He defended his behaviour, writing on Facebook: “Yes, there have been copycats, but that’s not me.”

The craze has spread with police in Lancashire reassuring the public after speculation about sightings involving a Stephen King-style clown.

A force spokesman said: “We have had no first-hand reports of any incidents of violence or intimidation.”

Last month Norfolk Police told members of the public to ignore clowns in the street after a number of sightings around King’s Lynn.

These included a person in a “full clown outfit” with a red suit and red hair chasing members of the public.
Superintendent Carl Edwards said no one had been injured or assaulted.

Dressing as a clown was not illegal, he said, but the force would offer those behind the make-up “strong words of advice”.

Sally Beadle, also known as Crazy Bananas, works as a clown in the King’s Lynn area.

She knows somebody who was chased by a clown in Downham Market, Norfolk, and said they were left shaken by the experience.

“Before this happened I would pop into the petrol station in costume on my way to a job but now I can’t do that,” she said. “Even my own children who grew up around clowns have been scared by this.

“It’s more than just a job, it’s something we love, but people’s reaction to us has changed – I was getting messages on Facebook asking if I was responsible for scaring people.

“This is my business and I don’t like frightening people.”

Responding to the freedom of information request, South Wales police confirmed it had received a report of somebody acting suspiciously while wearing a clown mask.

Derbyshire police received 29 reports of clown sightings after social media claims that a man in the Nottingham area was dressing up and carrying balloons and a knife.

One report read: “Caller scared as someone had tried to get in to their house – posted on Facebook that a clown had been going around village trying door handles.”

Another said: “Caller reported having received numerous calls from concerned parents about a clown going up to the windows of houses brandishing a gun and knife frightening the residents.”

South Yorkshire police recorded 28 incidents involving people dressed as clowns.

These included a clown standing in a park, jumping out at somebody in the street and staring through the window of a house.

Other police forces also recorded incidents involving people dressed as clowns, although not all were linked to the craze.

Sussex police received reports of three incidents involving the characters, including a speeding offence involving a motorcyclist in full clown costume.

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Almanac – June 04

1913 – Emily Davison received her fatal injuries.

A militant activist who fought for women’s suffrage in Britain. She was jailed on nine occasions and force-fed 49 times.
She is best known for stepping in front of King George V’s horse Anmer at the Epsom Derby on this date, sustaining injuries that resulted in her death four days later.
Her funeral on 14 June 1913 was organised by the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) and thousands of suffragettes accompanied the coffin and tens of thousands of people lined the streets of London. After a service in Bloomsbury her coffin was taken by train to the family grave in Morpeth, Northumberland.

Some have claimed that she was trying to disturb the Derby in order to draw attention to her cause, rather than to commit suicide, and  analysis of newsreel has supported the idea that Davison was reaching up to attach a scarf to the bridle of the King’s horse.

Analysis of newsreel also indicated that her position before she stepped out onto the track would have given her a clear view of the oncoming race, further countering the belief that she ran out to kill herself.

 

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Herbert Jones, the jockey riding the horse, suffered a mild concussion in the incident, but was “haunted by that poor woman’s face” for much longer.

In 1928, at the funeral of Emmeline Pankhurst, Jones laid a wreath “to do honour to the memory of Mrs Pankhurst and Miss Emily Davison”.

In 1951, his son found him dead in a gas-filled kitchen, having committed suicide.

The horse, Anmer, having gone over, got to his feet and completed the race without his jockey.

 

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Almanac – March 19

1649 – The House of Commons of England passed an act abolishing the House of Lords, declaring  that “The Commons of England [find] by too long experience that the House of Lords is useless and dangerous to the people of England.”

The House of Lords did not assemble again until the Convention Parliament met in 1660 and the monarchy was restored.

It returned to its former position as the more powerful chamber of Parliament—a position it would occupy until the 19th century. As usual in any cess-pit, the biggest chuncks always float back to the top again.

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1928 – Patrick McGoohan born. American-born actor, brought up in Ireland and Britain, where he established an extensive stage and film career, with his most notable roles in the 1960s television series Danger Man and cult favorite  The Prisoner, which he co-created, and  wrote and directed several episodes of .

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