West Norfolk pranksters have been warned not to take part in a country-wide craze which sees people dress-up as clowns and spread fear.

The “creepy clown” trend, an import from America, has resulted in reports of clowns jumping out on people, chasing them and brandishing weapons, with attacks varying in severity.

King’s Lynn Police Safer Schools Partnership used Twitter to warn its followers to think twice before joining in.

On Wednesday, the partnership Tweeted: “Thinking about ‘clowning around’? Please don’t. There are offences with this behaviour and you will be dealt with.”

The warning follows an appeal by police officers, again using Twitter, for information about a sighting in Lynn.

On Saturday police Tweeted just before 10pm: “Officers are out looking for a clown in the Gaywood area. If seen please let us know.”

Superintendent Lynne Cross of Norfolk police said: “While this craze may seem harmless, it is actually quite frightening to those who experience it.

“It will not be tolerated and anyone caught with the intention of causing alarm, harassment or distress will be dealt with robustly.”