A teenage boy armed with a weapon has been arrested by police hunting pranksters scaring the living daylights out of youngsters by dressing as clowns.
Officers across Newcastle have received six separate reports of people dressed as clowns jumping out of bushes to scare passing schoolchildren.
The first happened on Friday, September 30, and there have been a number of further reports over the past few days involving individuals dressed in clown outfits chasing passers-by.
Nobody has been attacked or injured during the pranks, but it has left a number of young children incredibly distressed and police are taking the reports seriously.
Tonight, a teenage boy was arrested in Blakelaw in possession of a bladed article in connection with one of the clown incidents.
A spokesman for Northumbria Police said: “This arrest should act as a clear warning to others who are actively seeking to cause distress and potentially harm others.
“This behaviour will not be tolerated by Northumbria Police and extra officers will be on hand to offer reassurance and catch those responsible for any criminal offences which have taken place.”
Inspector Stephen Wykes, of Central Area Command, added: "The people carrying out these pranks may think they're being funny, but it is leaving a number of young people incredibly distressed.
"Parents of the children affected, and teachers at our local schools, are understandably concerned and we are working very closely with them, as this is not something we want to see happening in our local community.
"There has only been a handful of these incidents, which we think have been inspired by a trend in America, but we are keen to stop them before they cause anyone else further distress.
"We are keen to identify those people who are dressing up as clowns so we can speak to them about their conduct and establish whether any criminal offence has taken place."
Anyone with any information about the pranks, or anyone who knows who is involved, should contact police on 101 quoting reference 1083 04/10/16.