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“We’ve got much scarier costumes here”: Norfolk’s fancy dress shops escape unharmed as clown craze rumbles on

PUBLISHED: 10:29 13 October 2016 | UPDATED: 14:26 13 October 2016

A scary clown costume hanging up in Top Hat costume hire shop. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

A scary clown costume hanging up in Top Hat costume hire shop. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2016

The impact of the clown craze is yet to be felt by some of the Norfolk’s fancy dress shops.

A scary clown costume hanging up in Top Hat costume hire shop. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYA scary clown costume hanging up in Top Hat costume hire shop. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

While businesses elsewhere around the country have reported soaring sales of clown costumes Top Hat in Norwich have not seen a difference.

Kirstie Pope, who owns the store, on St Benedicts Street, said she will not stop selling the costumes.

“We can’t be responsible for what people do when they leave the shop”, she said. “We have got much scarier costumes here.”

It comes after a fancy dress retailer said it has seen a “clear surge” in online searches for clown masks and costumes, most likely in response to the creepy clown craze sweeping Britain.

POSED BY MODEL

A person wearing a clown costume in a street in Liverpool. Peter Byrne/PA WirePOSED BY MODEL A person wearing a clown costume in a street in Liverpool. Peter Byrne/PA Wire

But one retailer in Norwich will not be stocking clown costumes this Halloween despite it being one of their busiest periods in the year.

The Rock Collection on Lower Gate Lane fill half of their shop with fancy dress costumes in the run up to October 31, but Sam, an IT Manger at the store, said they will not be selling any clown style costumes this year.

“We clear out half of the shop for Halloween stock even though we are not a fancy dress retailer as it works well for our demographic but we have a sign in the window saying that this year we will not be selling any clown outfits as we don’t endorse or support the recent actions but we do support Halloween and people having fun” he said. “Since we put it up many members of the public have come in and said its great that we are taking a stand against it.”

However Angels Fancy Dress, which has two London stores and trades online as fancydress.com, said it had no plans to withdraw clown costumes, arguing it was not its responsibility to “withdraw a technically inoffensive item in response to a fad”.

Angels spokesman Benjamin Webb said: “We have seen a clear surge in online searches for clown masks and costumes within our site, likely in response to the recent furore.

“Correspondingly, Angels has experienced a slight increase in clown-themed sales when compared to this time last year.

“However, clown costumes - both scary and more traditional versions - have been a Halloween favourite for years, so the popularity of clowns at this time of year should not be attributed to this current craze.”

It was a similar message from Ian Ashford, who owns Castle Costumes in King’s Lynn.

“We are not here to police what people buy or do,” he said. “I think that many of the people doing this will have bought online anyway, as it’s more anonymous.”

It comes after police in Northumbria warned shops not to sell so-called killer clown costumes to avoid further incidents.

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 and try to scare innocent bystanders.

On Tuesday, police confirmed a 30-year-old man had been arrested after dressing as a clown as chasing a woman through Eaton Park in Norwich. He was later cautioned.

Similar incidents have been reported in King’s Lynn and elsewhere in Norwich.

And senior police 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.


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