Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Portsmouth mystery clown 'disturbing' people in streets

Portsmouth clown Image copyright Cathy Colwell
Image caption The clown visits shops in Portsmouth and stands in silence

A mystery clown is scaring children in Portsmouth by lurking silently in streets and shops and stroking people.

Residents have posted on social media about how the clown, wearing a scary mask and a suit, stands in streets in the town with a balloon and does not speak.

A 15-year-old schoolboy is believed to be behind the mask.

Police said they had received no criminal complaints and were not taking action.

Rebecca Hodgson wrote on Facebook the clown scared her daughters by cycling "around in circles in front of them staring at them".

Louise Stanley responded and said: "Next time call the police. He is disturbing people and upsetting them."

Image copyright catriona smitham
Image caption Portsmouth residents took to social media to post pictures and express concern about the clown's antics

Catriona Smitham took photos of the clown standing on a street holding a balloon. She tweeted: "Only in Portsmouth would there be a man dressed as a clown stroking random people on the street."

‏Meanwhile, @MeggggSheeran tweeted: "Omg there is someone in Portsmouth with a clown mask running around scaring people. oh help me, I hope i never see him!!"

Others have taken a lighter view of the situation.

‏"I see only one solution. Batman," @bigfoot070188 tweeted.

The clown is said to have entered Stage Door dancewear shop and stood still without saying anything.

Shop assistant Karen Wilcock said it was an inappropriate gimmick.

"Luckily no children were in the shop at the time, but he could freak people out. In this day and age we don't need this sort of thing."

Andrea Hutchison from Preloved Portsmouth said the clown did the same at her shop.

"My daughter who's 22 hates clowns and would have had a full on hysteric if she'd seen him," she said.

She said the clown was a 15-year-old schoolboy and a regular customer, but she did not know why he was dressing up.

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