I SEE the 'killer clown' craze has apparently made its way to this neck of the woods, writes BARRIE HUDSON.

For the benefit of anybody not familiar with the phenomenon, it involves annoying halfwits dressing up as sinister clowns and frightening people.

While victims deserve sympathy, it’s the people dressing up who most need protection and timely counsel, so here is a heartfelt message for them.

If you are fond of dressing up as a clown and frightening people, or are considering doing so, please think again.

One of the reasons clowns are often regarded as frightening is that the monster in a Stephen King novel and TV show called IT often appeared in the guise of a murderous clown named Pennywise.

Pennywise was an ancient, evil and possibly alien supernatural entity. That is why it was able to wreak havoc and horror throughout a town in Maine. It could appear and disappear at will, it could disguise itself as people’s worst fears, it could creep into people’s homes, it could abduct and eat people and it could make buildings explode.

You, however, are not an ancient, evil and quite possibly alien supernatural entity. You are not remotely frightening.

You are one of those unpleasant and justifiably unloved little specimens who aspires to be like certain pranksters on YouTube, the horrible, runty sadists whose idea of being funny is to do cruel things to people and film their humiliation.

You have no supernatural powers whatsoever. You are just as vulnerable as anybody else to being chased down and battered senseless. While no decent person would wish such a fate upon you, the fact that you’re considering this whole clown thing suggests you’re already something of a practical joker. You probably have something of a reputation among family, friends and colleagues for doing tiresome, nasty things to people and then accusing them of having no sense of humour if they dare to object.

Rest assured that very few people around you are fond of you. Indeed, a substantial percentage find themselves reflecting in idle moments about how nice it would be to hit you very hard with a brick. Or set fire to you. Or drop an engine block on you from a tall building and then, as you groaned and begged for an ambulance to be called, ask: “What’s the matter? Can’t take a joke?”

The reason why they don’t do such things to you is that they know you. They may well wish they didn’t, but harming you would cause embarrassment at family gatherings, office parties and suchlike.

Complete strangers, however, are under no such obligation to restrain themselves, and people are prone to all manner of overreaction to certain stimuli. Fear, for example, and momentary shock. Parents are especially prone to this if they believe somebody is terrorising or otherwise harming their children. You might want to bear this in mind if you’re considering hanging around schools.

You should also bear in mind that the police say your activities are a drain on their already overstretched resources. How high do you think they’ll prioritise some numpty in a clown suit who’s just been given a going-over by angry members of the public?

In any case, if you really must cause utter havoc and misery while being described as a clown, there are better alternatives.

Consider contacting your favourite political party and inquiring about becoming a candidate for office.