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Clowning around gets WA teen charged

AAP logoAAP 9/10/2016

A man dressed as a clown has allegedly chased a group of teenage girls to a WA police station, while a driver has reported hitting a pedestrian wearing a clown costume in the latest clown stunts sweeping the world.

A 19-year-old man allegedly scared the group of girls near a shopping centre in Northam, northeast of Perth, and chased them for about 700 metres to a police station on Saturday night.

He has been charged with disorderly behaviour and possession of a disguise, which is only unlawful if it is used to conceal a person's identity while committing an offence.

In a separate incident, a woman reported hitting a pedestrian dressed as a clown on Tonkin Highway in Champion Lakes about 12.30am on Sunday.

But the person ran into nearby bushland and could not be found despite a search by the airwing and canine units.

A police spokesman said other incidents involving clowns were reported overnight but none were found when officers visited the areas.

"It is important to remember that dressing as a clown isn't against the law, however should a person engage in activity that is criminal, anti-social or threatening towards other people, police will investigate," he said.

The clown craze began with reports of clowns trying to lure children into woods in the US state of South Carolina, which led to clown groups sprouting across America and mass clown hunts in other areas.

The spooky fad spread to Australia recently, with police in Victoria and South Australia among those issuing warnings against it.

There are Facebook pages dedicated to the trend in WA, including Perth Clown Watch, which claims clowns have been spotted with chainsaws, hammers, machetes and other weapons, but police have not been able to verify the incidents.

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