An appeal for calm has gone out over the current ‘killer clown’ craze amid residents calling for vigilante action.
The plea has been made by Southwater Town Councillor Billy Greening after a ‘clown with chains’ was reported to have been seen at Southwater Country Park at the weekend.
The sighting is one of hundreds all over the country following the sinister clown craze - which started in the US - of people dressing as clowns and terrifying youngsters.
People have been turning to social media to report sightings and, as well as the clown reported in Southwater, another has been reported on Facebook as having been seen near The Weald School in Billingshurst.
Councillor Greening said: “I utterly condemn these individuals acting in this reprehensive and intimidating manner.
“I urge all residents to report incidents to the police and let the professionals deal with the situation.
“I appeal for calm throughout the district and urge our community to come together.”
He spoke out following a call on Facebook for people in Horsham and surrounding areas to don high visibility jackets at Halloween to patrol the streets to keep children safe.
Meanwhile, police are advising pranksters not to dress up as a clown and frighten strangers after the force received numerous calls over the weekend from people feeling intimidated by the new trend.
Inspector Simon Starns said: “We are aware this is a trend that has come over from America as Halloween is approaching.
“However while is not an offence to dress up as a clown and prank your mates, we don’t advise people to do this to strangers in the current climate of heightened security and it is an offence to carry an offensive weapon or an item which could be perceived to be a weapon.
“We will respond if someone feels threatened and the culprit could end up being arrested and then they won’t find it so funny.”