A fancy dress shop owner has pulled scary clown masks from his shelves to ‘protect the community’ from the craze which is sweeping the UK.
Father-of-three Peter Walker, who runs A Party Shop, says he has ‘put responsibility over profit’ by removing the masks from his shop in Apsley.
It comes as police are beginning to take action over ‘killer clown’ attacks with several incidents reported across Dacroum in the last couple of weeks.
Mr Walker said: “As a father, I know how upset I would be to hear my children had been frightened by the current scary clown craze.
“I want to protect our local community from people, especially children, being scared for no apparent reason.
“We had overwhelming feedback from customers that both clowns are attacking people and that the clowns are also getting attacked themselves.
“People have said: ‘You’ve done the right thing and I’m glad that you have taken this stand point. Others have said: ‘I wish our local shop would do the same.”
The shop, in London Road, will refund any in-store purchases on unused clown masks when returned with a receipt.
Mr Walker said: “We’re not trying to cancel Halloween.
“We are fully committed to making sure that Halloween is a spooky time with plenty of fun and no real fear.”
The shop is promoting a safe Halloween with the hashtags #ClownMaskGraveyard and #ClownFreeHalloween.
The ‘killer clown’ craze appears to have arrived in the UK from the USA, with the first known attack taking place in South Carolina on August 21.
Sightings in the UK have become more frequent with many clowns using weapons such as knives and chainsaws to add to the fear.
In one shocking incident on Friday, a ‘killer clown’ with a knife chased two children aged 11 and 12 to school.
Mr Walker said he thinks that his ‘responsible and moral approach’ can make a difference because it will make it ‘much harder for people to access the masks’.
Mr Walker said he has removed all scary clown masks and he has no plans to reinstate them.
He added: “I’m more than prepared to sacrifice the retail value of the masks and believe that maintaining a good name within the local area is much more important than a quick sale.”