A British clown has had the smile wiped off his face after being told he could not use balloons in his act because children might be allergic to latex.

Barney Baloney said he was told by bosses at a supermarket, where he was booked to appear, that he should leave his balloons at home because of the potential for allergic reactions.

The 47-year-old entertainer, also known as Tony Turner, has previously had to ditch his bubble-making machine because he could not get public liability insurance as companies assessed that youngsters might slip and hurt themselves.

He said he was also told by one venue he could not twist balloons into the shape of guns for fear of encouraging youngsters to commit violence, although swords were deemed acceptable.

'At this rate I will have no act left. Things are going from crazy to ridiculous,' Barney Baloney told the Yorkshire Post newspaper.

A spokesperson for the Tesco supermarket in Leeds where he was due to appear refused to back down saying it is a health and safety issue.

The spokesperson said they had banned balloons because latex is used in the manufacture of them and this can trigger an allergic reaction in some children.

He said: 'We always have the welfare of children at heart.'