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Here's The Truth About The "Silent, Stroking Clown" Of Portsmouth

Spoiler: The people of Portsmouth are not likely to be at risk.

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This story has been widely reported across the internet this morning.

We're told that a mysterious clown holding a balloon and wearing a suit has been terrorising people.

Mystery clown scaring children in Portsmouth by lurking silently in streets and stroking them http://t.co/Cz3Oy62gW3

BBC South Today@BBCSouthNewsFollow

Mystery clown scaring children in Portsmouth by lurking silently in streets and stroking them http://t.co/Cz3Oy62gW3

6:51 AM - 21 Oct 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Most of the reports have drawn on people's social media sightings.

Portsmouth locals are nuts, just seen a man riding a bicycle in a suit and a clown mask....?

Lily@x_lilysFollow

Portsmouth locals are nuts, just seen a man riding a bicycle in a suit and a clown mask....?

5:28 PM - 17 Oct 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

People of Portsmouth beware of the kid dressed in a suit wearing a clown mask and holding a balloon!

Nicole Lipizzi@Nicole_LipFollow

People of Portsmouth beware of the kid dressed in a suit wearing a clown mask and holding a balloon!

7:33 PM - 16 Oct 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

According to the Huffington Post: "The orange-haired figure has been causing quite a stir after roaming the city, sometimes by bicycle and talking in a 'creepy' voice."

Only in Portsmouth would there be a man dressed as a clown stroking random people on the street<img src="https://abs.twimg.com/emoji/v1/72x72/1f388.png">

Cat Smitham@CatrionaSmithamFollow

Only in Portsmouth would there be a man dressed as a clown stroking random people on the street

4:47 PM - 15 Oct 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

And according to ITV:

One resident claimed the clown chased her through a street after she took a picture of him.

But the full story, as told in the Portsmouth News, is rather less terrifying:

"He started chasing me and kept asking me to pick up his juggling balls," she said.

"I said 'no, why don't you pick them up?' and he said he couldn't because he couldn't bend over in his trousers.

"So in the end I picked them up just so he would go away.

"Everyone around me was laughing."

And what's been even less reported (apart from in this morning's Portsmouth News) is that the "terrifying clown" is in fact a vulnerable young boy.

He's trying to do magic tricks around pub areas at night to raise money from locals. BuzzFeed News contacted Kelly Wall, who runs the Drift Bar in Southsea, to talk to her about the boy. She told us:

He's a vulnerable boy. He's been well-known to us and other businesses in the area for a long time. He was brought up at our local Pubwatch so if we see him we have to ring 101 so the police come and pick him up.

Honestly, he's such a nice boy. He's just very vulnerable, and he's trying to have some fun in the build-up to Halloween. He thinks he's being funny, and some people are taking it the wrong way, and now the whole story's spiralled out of control.

And that's the truth about the Portsmouth clown.