A terrifying clown has been spotted lurking the streets of Staten Island, which seems to have stepped straight out of Stephen King's It.

With an uncanny likeness to the character Pennywise the dancing clown, the figure mysteriously appears at night holding balloons, while smiling and waving.

In the last few days, the clown has been seen on the roadsides of the New York borough, prompting social media users to post scary snapshots.

Yet it has been reported that the clown is part of a publicity stunt being carried out by a film production company called Fuzz on the Lens.

According to Headlines and Global News, it appears that some of those who posted photographs of the clown were linked to the company - although it is unclear as to whether this is a coincidence or not.

The Staten Island Advance reported that three of the men who posted pictures, Vincent Innocente, Robert Privitera and Michael Leavy, are all friends with one another on Facebook.

All three, along with Vic Dibitetto, are linked with the film production company. The connection was first reported by the New York Post.

On 16 March, Leavy, having sent to Advance an image of the clown allegedly near Buffalo Wild Wings in Graniteville, shared Dibiletto's video. Since then, his 28-second clip has gone viral.

Allegedly, the four men were the only people to have photographic evidence of the actual clown.

Dibitetto has since admitted to being involved in the whole scary act but denied that he was aware that it was a publicity stunt.

He told the Advance: "I think he's funny and this whole thing is funny, so if people want to think it's me or whoever I won't stop them, maybe I should go get a clown suit though, hopefully they are not sold out."

Last year, a similarly creepy clown was spotted across Northampton, first appearing around the town on Friday 13 September. It was revealed to be Alex Powell, a 22-year-old Northampton University student and film maker.

Other Twitter users have posted pictures of the Staten Island clown: