A MAJOR search was launched after a man dressed as a clown pointed a kitchen knife at a member of the public.

Police were alerted just after 3pm on Sunday, November 5, but a search of the area, which also involved the police helicopter, failed to trace the offender.

The incident took place on a pathway opposite the Lidl store in Tricketts Cross, Ferndown.

Police confirmed they received a call at 3.01pm but did not release information about the incident to the public.

They said no verbal threats had been made to members of the public and added: "Officers, assisted by the NPAS helicopter and the dog section, attended to search the area and ensure no members of the public were at risk. However, following a thorough search, no one was located."

Local councillor Peter Oggelsby criticised the police for not releasing information about the incident.

He said: “We get the police helicopter around here from time to time but this is the first I have heard of this incident.

“I would have thought it would be advantageous to warn people if something like this is going on.”

The incident comes amid fears that last year’s so-called Killer Clown phase is returning to the streets of Britain.

The autumn of 2016 saw dozens of incidents where members of the public were frightened or attacked by people dressed as clowns. Many were carrying weapons.

A spokesperson for Dorset Police said: "Based on the assessment of the single lone report made to Dorset Police and our subsequent enquiries made at the scene, it was not deemed there was any need to issue anything proactively.

"Dorset Police will always take initial reports such as this seriously. We carried out a thorough search utilising the specialist skills of the dog section and the NPAS helicopter but no one was found. 

"There were other people in the area at the time and no one else reported a similar sighting to us. 

"We take all aspects of our preliminary investigations into account when making a decision whether a witness appeal is necessary."