Robbing a shop in a clown fancy dress costume may have sounded like a good idea in theory, but one criminal was left red-faced this week in the US after his attempt went wrong.

An employee at Allsup's in Clovis, New Mexico, called the police on Sunday (May 2nd 2010) to report that a man in a clown mask had threatened him at gunpoint, CNJ Online attests.

However, the store had not been open long and no more than $50 (£33) was in the till, meaning that the robber did not make off with as much as he had probably hoped.

The "chunky" man hot-footed it away in his clown mask with Clovis Police in hot pursuit, so at least the checkout operator probably got a laugh in the end!

Harlequin Clown fancy dress costumes are always a favourite with us - but you may wish to avoid them if you've ever read Stephen King's It (shudder).

Otherwise, feel free to try a variety of clown-themed masks and costumes - but make sure it's for good and not as part of a crimewave.