An autistic youngster is frightened to leave his home after being terrified by an “idiotic killer clown” prankster.
The 11-year-old and his mother were confronted by someone dressed as a clown on Wednesday evening in the Horsley Hill area of South Shields.
The mother, who does not want to be named, says her son does not want to leave the house and has been left so traumatised he is now unable to go upstairs on his own.
The schoolboy was being taken to a youth group meeting at around 7pm when someone dressed as a clown jumped out at them as they walked through an alleyway near Lincoln Road, South Shields.
It is the latest in a series of incidents in which people, dressed as clowns, deliberatelyt set out to frighten young children.
The youngster was so shocked he simply ran off and his mum says he has not been the same since. She said: “I’m fuming. He had just started to become confident and wanting to play out alone.
“His austism makes this hard but he was managing it and now he is scared to go up the stairs alone in his own home.”
She added: “He wasn’t scared of clowns before but now he associates them with evil.
“It has effected him very badly. He now doesn’t want to go out or attend the clubs he loves in case there’s another incident.
“I’ve never seen him in such a state. These idiots have gone beyond their fun as its making people feel uneasy and targeting the vulnerable.”
She added: “He woke up three times that night in a sweat and having nightmares about it.
“I didn’t see whether the person had a weapon as I had to run after my son.
“Carrying a weapon or not they shouldn’t be allowed to do this.”
The woman says she reported the matter to two police officers in the area minutes after the incident and they undertook a search of the area.
She added: “Halloween won’t be the same this year as its turned a fun family event into a feared one.”
The ‘killer clown’ craze came from the US and has spread on social media, with a Facebook page sharing photos and videos of incidents.
Since it hit the region police have been stepping up patrols with a vow to take action against those terrorising the community.
A spokeswoman for Northumbria Police said the matter was being looked into.