McDonald’s shelves Ronald McDonald amid ‘killer clown’ craze

Fast food firm says its mascot is keeping a low profile as pranks spread across the globe

McDonald’s says its mascot Ronald McDonald is keeping a low profile as reports of creepy clown sightings sweep communities across the globe.

The fast food giant told US media that it is being “thoughtful in respect to Ronald McDonald’s participation in community events as a result of the current climate around clown sightings in communities”.

McDonald’s in the UK did not immediately comment.

The “killer clown” craze has seen police forces in the US and Britain called to a string of incidents where pranksters or criminals dress as clowns to try to scare innocent bystanders.

Senior officers are warning that the trend, which started in the US, is a waste of police resources and said they would crack down on those causing fear and anxiety to members of the public.

In the latest incident, an 18-year-old man, from Penyrheol, Wales, was issued with a fixed penalty notice and fined £90 for a public order offence after a "killer clown" incident.

Gwent Police said they punished the 18-year-old after responding to reports that a man was dressed as a clown and intimidating children outside St Cenydd Comprehensive School in Caerphilly.

In Kent, police revealed they had received reports of 59 clown-related incidents between October 7th and 10th.

Some involved people dressed up and jumping out in front of vehicles, staring at members of the public or chasing children.

One man (23), from Sittingbourne, had been arrested for a public order offence following an incident, a Kent police spokesman said.

Police statement

Scotland Yard’s commander Julian Bennett warned that the number of pranks is expected to increase in the run-up to Halloween.

The force has dealt with a string of reports, including a man seen dressed as a clown clutching a chainsaw at Brunel University in west London on Saturday.

A 19-year-old man was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of a public order offence.