Council which painted over Banksy artwork hires security guard

Bungling council which painted over £200,000 Banksy artwork in 2014 over claims it was ‘racist’ hires security guard to protect new stencil graffiti – despite not knowing if he’s behind it

  • Panicked officials in Harwich, Essex, have drafted in watchmen to protect art
  • Creation appeared on the seafront this week after artist hit nearby towns  
  • Chiefs at Tendring District Council have moved to safeguard painting of boy holding a discarded covid mask at the end of a fishing line on a wall 

A bungling council that painted over a £200,000 Banksy artwork in 2014 over claims it was racist has hired a security guard to protect a new stencil graffiti even though they don’t know if the street artist is behind it.   

Panicked officials in Harwich, Essex, have drafted in watchmen to protect a piece of stencil art that may have been created by the mysterious artist.

The creation appeared on the seafront this week after the anonymous artist hit nearby towns in East Anglia for a ‘Spraycation’ – creating 10 new pieces.

Now chiefs at Tendring District Council have moved to safeguard the painting of a Victorian boy holding a discarded covid mask at the end of a fishing line despite not knowing if it is genuine.

Panicked officials in Harwich, Essex, have drafted in watchmen to protect a piece of stencil art (pictured) that may have been created by the mysterious artist

The creation appeared on the seafront this week after the anonymous artist hit nearby towns in East Anglia for a ‘Spraycation’ – creating 10 new pieces

The move comes after bungling bureaucrats painted over a Banksy in nearby Clacton-on-Sea that showed a group of pigeons holding anti-immigration placards.

After a complaint it was ‘racist’ council staff scrubbed it away leading to widespread mockery in 2014.

In an embarrassing flip-flop the authority has now branded Banksy ‘one of the world’s greatest living artists’.

Tendring Council leader Neil Stock said: ‘His works are provocative, thought-provoking and controversial, but also clever, witty and incredibly creative.

‘We are hugely delighted that it appears he has chosen to come to Harwich and leave us with a reminder of his visit.

‘We immediately put security in place and are taking further steps to protect this artwork as we await confirmation that it is indeed the latest piece of the artist’s ‘Spraycation’ in East Anglia.

The move comes after bungling bureaucrats painted over a Banksy in nearby Clacton-on-Sea that showed a group of pigeons holding anti-immigration placards (pictured)

After a complaint it was ‘racist’ council staff scrubbed it away (pictured) leading to widespread mockery in 2014

‘We’ve had an expert check it out who says if it’s not a Banksy then it’s an incredibly similar one, it has all the hallmarks of his work.

‘We can’t say absolutely but we know he has been on the east coast, and I’ve been hoping he was going to pay us a visit.’

Locals hope the piece is a genuine Banksy and say the art could attract visitors to the coastal town – if the council don’t destroy it.

Louise Bateman said: ‘Security put up to stop the council clearing it off?’

A thought echoed by Dylan Calvert .

He said: ‘Council will probably wash it off. Like Clacton did, two hundred grand gone just like that. I bet they feel a bit sick.’

However some have been more positive. Michael Smith runs along the seafront and Dovercourt Bay up to four times a week and, on his run spotted the street art.

‘The new artwork caught my eye straight away,’ he said, ‘and my first thought was it could be Banksy.

‘I think it could well be his work as he has been busy in the region on his spraycation.

‘I really like his work and believe it will be very popular. The picture is clever and has amazing detail.

‘I’m sure there will be lots of fans coming to have a look.’

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