Page last updated at 19:10 GMT, Friday, 6 March 2009

Banksy mural deemed 'graffiti'

Banksy mural
The mural is being 'covered up' rather than removed

A large mural by elusive street artist Banksy has been ordered covered over by a London council.

The work, on a Royal Mail building in central London, has the words One nation under CCTV stencilled on it.

It features two human figures - a child in a red-hooded top painting the words, and a police officer holding a camera - along with a brown dog.

Westminster council has deemed the 7m high mural graffiti and workers have begun to cover it up.

Banksy, the Bristol-based painter, has been called a guerrilla artist for his anonymous creations on buildings around the country.

His popular works have sold for as much as 208,100 and collectors include Brad Pitt and Christina Aguilera.

If you condone this then you condone graffiti all over London
Robert Davis, Westminster Council

Last year the artist created an exhibit in a south London tunnel in what he described as a bid to give street artists as much input into the look of the city as "architects and ad men".

Robert Davis, deputy leader of Westminster council, said: "I take the view that this is graffiti and if you condone this then what is the difference between this and all the other graffiti you see scrawled across the city?

"If you condone this then you condone graffiti all over London."

A spokesman for Royal Mail said it did not want to cover the work: "Unfortunately, Westminster council have told us that we must either remove or cover up the mural.

"We are having to do this simply because we have been told to."

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