Ronald McDonald to limit appearances in light of 'creepy clown' craze
McDonald's says its iconic mascot Ronald McDonald is keeping a low profile as reports of creepy clown sightings sweep communities.
The fast food giant told US media that it is being "thoughtful in respect to Ronald McDonald's participation in community events "as a result of the current climate around clown sightings in communities".
McDonald's in the UK did not immediately comment.
The "killer clown" craze has seen police forces in the US and Britain called to a string of incidents where pranksters or criminals dress as clowns try to scare innocent bystanders.
Senior officers are warning that the trend, which started in the US, is a waste of police resources and said they would crack down on those causing fear and anxiety to members of the public.
In the latest incident, an 18-year-old man, from Penyrheol, Caerphilly, was issued with a fixed penalty notice and fined £90 for a public order offence.
Gwent Police said they responded to reports that a man was dressed as a clown and intimidating children outside St Cenydd Comprehensive School in Caerphilly.
In Kent, police revealed they had received reports of 59 clown-related incidents between October 7 and 10.
Some involved people dressed up and jumping out in front of vehicles, staring at members of the public or children chasing other children.
One man, 23, from Sittingbourne, has been arrested for a public order offence, a Kent Police spokesman said as officers issued a warning.
Scotland Yard's Commander Julian Bennett warned that the number of pranks is expected to increase in the run-up to Halloween.
The force has dealt with a string of reports including a man seen dressed as a clown clutching a chainsaw at Brunel University in west London on Saturday. A 19-year-old man was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of a public order offence.
A McDonald's UK spokeswoman said: " Ronald is used in the UK within our restaurant settings. Whilst we will be mindful of the current trend concerning clowns, we do not anticipate it will impact heavily on his duties over here."