The Northampton Post & Gazette said some residents have even threatened to assault the clown, which was first reported in the town last Friday. But Adrian Lee, chief constable for the Northamptonshire Police, takes a more positive view.
"It has brought Northampton to the public attention," Lee said. "If I met the clown I would shake his hands for what he is doing."
The red-wigged clown, in full costume and makeup, has appeared in a number of locations but quickly disappears again. He stays around long enough to allow quick snapshots.
He has become a sensation on social media. The Facebook page Spot Northampton's Clown achieved 40,000 likes after it was created Tuesday, and the clown has a Twitter hashtag, #northamptonclown.
Northampton, 67 miles northwest of London and 50 miles southeast of Birmingham, is an ancient town with the remains of a medieval castle. But much of the town was destroyed by a fire in 1675, and it lacks the tourist cachet of some other places. Its best-known landmark may be the National Lift Tower, opened in 1982 by Queen Elizabeth II, which was designed to test elevators for a now-closed factory.
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