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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 November 2007, 10:25 GMT
Council preserves Banksy murals
Banksy's portrait of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill
Banksy is known for his controversial paintings
Graffiti removal teams in north London have been ordered to preserve work by guerrilla artist Banksy.

Islington council said the policy was in response to calls from residents for the murals not to be painted over.

One such painting in Martineau Road, called the Tate Gallery, has been repaired by council staff five times after being targeted by vandals.

Last month Tower Hamlets council said it would paint over all graffiti, including work by Banksy.

Hard line

A spokesman said at the time: "Whilst some graffiti is considered to be art, we know that many of our residents think graffiti in areas where they live, such as local housing estates, is an eyesore."

But Islington council said it was listening to the requests of its residents.

Lucy Watt of Islington council said: "We take a very hard line on graffiti and remove it within 24 hours when it is reported to us.

"However, residents have been telling us Banksy is in a class of his own...and they don't want us to remove the work.

"Because of the quality and renown of Banksy's work in Islington many people want to see it preserved for as long as possible."

The council said if work by the controversial artist appeared on private property it was up to the owner whether it was removed or not.

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