Batman is on a mission to reassure frightened children who have been affected by the creepy clown craze.

The superhero has visited dozens of youngsters, including seven-year-old Ethan Shrubb, of Woodhouse, who had been losing sleep because of clown sightings in Whitehaven.

Ethan became terrified after he heard rumours in school that a “killer clown was on the loose”.

Batman responded to Ethan’s message and met him to give Ethan a reassuring talk – and even a souvenir mask and cape.

Cumbria Superheroes, a costume company, sent Batman out and about on the Whitehaven’s streets to fight off the evil clowns – some of whom have been have been armed with fake knives and blocks of wood.

“I’d heard about these clowns scaring youths,” said the man behind the mask, “and then it got a bit darker. There were reports of women with buggies being scared and children having nightmares. We thought it would be good if we went out to give the clowns a taste of their own medicine.”

The crime-fighting superhero donned his mask and headed out, to confront one local teenage clown.

“When the clown saw a 6ft bat coming towards him he was terrified. We reassured him we weren’t going to do anything bad, but asked him what he was doing with himself.

“He went home with his tail between his legs.”

The man behind the mask has also released a video message on Facebook to reassure children and warn clowns which has been viewed more than 10,000 times.

Ethan and his fellow pupils at Monkwray Junior School were given a special assembly in light of the craze, at which the headteacher warned about ‘stranger danger’.

It was after this assembly that Ethan heard rumours from his schoolmates about a killer clown.

Ethan’s 32-year-old mum, Kelly, said: “He came home and told us what he had heard so we told him there was nothing to worry about. He struggled to sleep that night.

“The next morning I saw that Batman had been chasing clowns off, so we wrote a message to him on Facebook. We didn’t think we’d get a response.”

Kelly said she couldn’t thank Cumbria Superheroes enough and Ethan was now sleeping soundly.

She added that the creepy clown craze has gone too far.

She said: “At first I thought the clown thing was a bit of harmless fun, but obviously some people find it funny and taken it one step too far. It becomes serious when kids are terrified.”