The clown craze sweeping the nation has hit the baking industry, as three men dressed as clowns attacked a member of staff at a sandwich factory in Bolton last week. They escaped with its safe.

CCTV cameras caught the men wielding a sledgehammer around the Express Cuisine’s production plant at Sunnyside Business Centre in Bolton, Greater Manchester, at around 7.10pm on Tuesday (11 October).

Owner Sohel Patel fears similar incidents will keep happening in the build-up to Halloween.

Patel told the Daily Mail: “A black Audi A3 pulled up in our car park with four people inside: the driver and three others. The three passengers got out and came into our reception door at very fast speed. They were armed with a red and black sledgehammer and DIY-style hammers, had clown masks on and came through into our open-plan office area.

“One member of staff, an admin assistant, was punched and kicked and they asked him where the safe is. He tried to avoid telling them where it is and they ended up finding the safe anyway. They were going through the drawers trying to find the key.”

The raid was the first time the 17-year-old business - which manufactures pre-packed sandwiches for clients such as supermarkets and universities - has fallen victim to crime.

The ‘killer clown’ craze has been affecting the majority of the UK with various violent incidents reported.