A recent spike in clown sightings across the country has prompted fears that a menacing trend is on the rise.

Terrified residents have reported being terrorized by people dressed up in the costumes in more than ten states since August.

Among them was one woman who claimed to have been assaulted and worrying accounts of children being lured towards woods by the disguised figures.

In South Carolina, police have issued a stark warning to whoever is frightening the community.

‘It’s illegal. It’s dangerous. It’s inappropriate, and it’s creating community concern so it needs to stop,’ Greenville Police Chief Ken Miller said last month.

His message came after four separate reports of clowns near play parks and apartment complexes.

Parents said the clowns were holding green lasers while children said they appeared to have large sums of cash, Fox Carolina reports. 

One vigilante is said to have chased the clown away with a machete.

Officers have however encouraged people to take photographs if they encounter the clowns again, having been unable to find them since reports were made.

‘We have increased patrol in areas where sightings have occurred and will be stepping up crime prevention in these apartment complexes and neighborhoods.

‘We encourage the community to document and report suspicious activity to police.

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3817401/No-laughing-matter-menacing-clowns-terrorizing-children-adults-country-just-Halloween-prank.html