Aug 24, 2016

    $1.8m mural by Banksy destroyed


    A £1 MILLION (S$1.8 million) mural by British street artist Banksy, which mocked government surveillance,

    has been destroyed during building works on the house on which it appeared in 2014, the local council said

    on Monday.

    Titled Spy Booth, it depicted three men in trench coats using listening devices to tap into conversations at an actual public telephone box in Cheltenham, England.

    It was located just 5km from the British government listening post GCHQ, which was the subject of a series of revelations by former

    United States intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

    The local council said

    the owner had confirmed

    the mural was damaged during urgent works on

    the end-of-terrace home,

    which was given protected status after the mural appeared in April 2014.

    "He was carrying out works to his property following an urgent works notice issued by the council to stop further deterioration of the listed building," said council official Mark Nelson.

    A picture on Twitter appeared to show the wall stripped back to the brickwork.

    The property owner has made available pieces of the rendering on which the artwork was painted for the council to use in its investigation.

    The mural, valued at

    £1 million, had become a tourist attraction but was damaged when fellow

    graffiti artists spray-painted silver and red on the

    elusive artist's design.

    Alex Chalk, the Conservative MP for the town, said: "We need an urgent inquiry to get to the bottom of what happened.

    "Whoever is responsible needs to be held to account."

    Banksy is renowned for his street artwork, which often uses subversive or satirical imagery to tackle subjects such as war, capitalism and greed.

    The artist's identity remains shrouded in secrecy but he is believed to have started out

    as a graffiti artist in the south-western city of Bristol.