QUESTIONS have been raised over the welfare of a 15-year-old spotted around Portsmouth wearing a scary clown mask.
Pubs say they have known of the vulnerable teenager’s antics for more than year and have been told by police to call if he stops by to do magic tricks.
And while businesses say the boy is harmless, they are concerned enough is not being done to protect him.
Kelly Wall, manager of Drift Bar, in Palmerston Road, where the boy is regularly spotted, called police on Saturday night as he was hanging around after 8.30pm.
‘He is a young boy and he is vulnerable,’ she said.
‘He’s just trying to make a bit of money, but he is only 15.
‘He is around the whole city.’
Ian Kirby, owner of Shenanigans Irish Cafe, said the boy is brought up at pub watch meetings.
‘I have seen him around,’ he said.
‘The brief we get from police is if he is seen conducting magic tricks around pub areas, to call 101.
‘At the end of the day, he is a 15-year-old walking the streets late at night.’
Portsmouth City Council has refused to comment on the situation.
Meanwhile, friends say the clown is doing no harm and is just having some fun in the run-up to Halloween.
The News has been flooded by phone calls about the 15-year-old boy causing a stir around the city.
Angie Bowden, 44, of Southsea, said: ‘He’s a nice lad.
‘He knows that what he’s doing is just a joke.
‘When I first saw him he was going down Osborne Road in his costume.
‘I didn’t recognise him at first but when he rode up to me on his bike I knew who it was.
‘I asked him what he was doing and he said he was just having a bit of fun because it’s coming up to Halloween.’
Harry Bailey cuts the teenager’s hair at The Terrace hairdressers, in Landport Terrace.
‘It’s a bit of a nuisance, but he’s harmless.
‘He is normally a bit of a joker.’
Pictures by Helen Mahoney and Cat Smitham