August 21, 2001 03:24 PM

A $8,700, seven-foot-tall Mr. Potato Head statue, presented by the town of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, to its sister city, Belper, England, has been spurned because the good people of Belper reportedly just didn’t like it. (Pawtucket is where the celebrated toy, which also appeared in the “Toy Story” movies, was invented.) “We started getting letters saying, ‘Why has this horrible thing appeared stuck in the middle of town? We don’t want it here,’ ” Wayne Bontoft, of the Belper News, informed Reuters on Monday. As a result of the protests, Mr. Potato Head was removed from its initial perch, outside a local McDonald’s, and banished to a children’s playground until such time that it can be relocated to a nearby Wild West theme park. (Belper is in central England.) Belper tourism officer Reg Whitworth was even being besieged to get rid of the starchy eyesore with the plastic arms, legs and facial features altogether. Meanwhile, the gifters, the proud people of Pawtucket, are said to be all mashed up by the reaction.

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