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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 March 2007, 18:33 GMT
Fears sparked over Banksy mural
A member of the graffiti removal team taking the road sign down

A graffiti removal team sparked fears an early Banksy mural would be lost forever from the side of a house in Bristol when it parked up outside.

The mural has been put up for sale at an art gallery in Devon with the house offered for free as part of the sale.

Residents in the street in Easton reacted angrily when contractors appeared to be about to remove the art.

In fact they only removed a rusty street sign which is attached to the wall of the house where the mural is.

A spokesperson for Bristol City Council said there was never any instruction for the mural to be removed.

Local resident Ben Bloodworth said: "It means a lot to the community and it means a lot to the person who owns the house and it means a lot to the city council as they know what Banksy means to Bristol."

A Banksy artwork recently sold for 102,000 at auction

Jordan Searle from the graffiti removal team said they were never going to remove it. He said the policy was to not remove murals.

"[Although] we didn't know that this was the famous Banksy artwork which is on the side of the house to be sold," he said.

The owners had originally put their house up for sale but were horrified to discover that all prospective buyers said they would remove the mural once contracts were exchanged.

The artwork, which is about four-years-old, is thought to be one of Bristol-born Banksy's last free-painted works. He normally uses stencils.

Meanwhile, a London council has admitted street cleaners accidentally washed off two Banksy murals, including one of a girl in a frilly dress wearing a gas mask, from the side of a building.

A Banksy artwork depicting pensioners bowling with bombs was sold for 102,000 at auction house Sotheby's in February.




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Some of Banksy's famous art



SEE ALSO
Free house as part of Banksy sale
11 Feb 07 |  Bristol/Somerset
Record price for Banksy bomb art
08 Feb 07 |  Entertainment
On the trail of artist Banksy
08 Feb 07 |  Entertainment
'Naked man' mural allowed to stay
19 Jul 06 |  Bristol/Somerset
Gang foiled over Banksy theft bid
30 Nov 06 |  Merseyside
Banksy artwork sets new benchmark
26 Oct 06 |  Entertainment

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