A 13-year-old girl in Cumbria was threatened with rape and having her throat cut by a so-called 'creepy clown' on social media, police said. The schoolgirl, from the market town of Kendal, received the threats via messages on Instagram, according to Cumbria Police,

It is believed a person posing as a clown made the threats at around 5.20pm on Tuesday (11 October). A 13-year-old boy has been arrested on suspicion of making a malicious communication and released on bail.

The so-called 'creepy clown craze' has sparked sightings of clowns throughout the UK. The phenomenon started in the southern states of the US. Police forces have dealt with reports of "clowns" jumping out to scare people and lurking in dark places, chasing people and carrying weapons.

British police forces have issued guidance for citizens worried about a possible threat and warned those dressing up as clowns that they could face action. Despite this Cumbria Police said they have received 23 reports of "creepy clowns" incidents in the past 24 hours.

Creepy Clowns
These creepy clowns were spotted by police in Wisconsin - who released a video of the alleged prank Menasha Police Department/ Belicini/ YouTube

A force spokesman said according to the BBC: "We are continuing to receive reports of the clown craze, which is causing distress and fear to people in our community. We appreciate that the majority of the public understand the impact and harm that this is causing, particularly to children.

"We are hoping that this craze will pass this week and we would urge the small minority of people still taking part to stop. Dressing up as a clown and deliberately trying to scare and intimidate others is causing a lot of distress to people and we will not tolerate it.

"This prank could lead to arrests for a public order offences, possession of offensive weapons or even assault."

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A 13-year-old girl was threatened with rape on Instagram in a crime linked to the creepy clown craze iStock

Cumbria Police said among the 23 incidents were reports of a man wearing a white mask following a group of young children — a 23-year-old was later cited for a public order offence. An 11-year-old girl was allegedly chased by a clown carrying an axe in Workington.

A man, dressed as a creepy clown, allegedly jumped out of a car, in Millom, frightening a woman. A teacher in Carlisle reported that a nine-year-old pupil had been chased by three adults wearing distinctive clown masks and in Barrow a church choir practice was disrupted by youths dressed as clowns.